Science and TechAnimals and Insects


Woman couldn’t sleep because of sounds in her ear. It was a spider

Insects found in a person’s ear are rare. ​Past research stated insects account for 14% to 18% of foreign objects found in the ear canal.
A spider and its exoskeleton inside a woman's ear canal.
Posted at 12:21 PM, Oct 26, 2023

A 64-year-old woman went to an ears, nose and throat specialist after sounds and movement in her ear kept her from sleeping for four days. The culprit was a spider. 

According to a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, the woman felt something moving in her left ear and heard constant beating, clicking and rustling sounds. 

When medical professionals examined her ear, they saw a spider and its exoskeleton in her external auditory canal. Both were reportedly removed with a suction tool. 

The article said when it’s a larger spider or insect, it’s standard practice to inject lidocaine or ethanol into the ear canal to kill the bug before removing it to prevent excessive movements that could cause damage to the ear – but no liquid should be put inside an ear that already has any type of tearing. 

The Mayo Clinic said using alcohol or warm oil – such as mineral oil, olive oil or baby oil – can help “float” the insect out.

Insects found in a person’s ear are rare, but not unheard of. Past research published by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care stated insects account for 14% to 18% of foreign objects found in the ear canal. 

According to Dr. Benjamin McGrew, an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Alabama who has spoken with several outlets on this subject, people with bugs stuck in their ears enter their clinic at least four to five times per year. The most common offending bug is cockroaches.