Abnormal Sounds in Patient’s Ear turns out to be a Spider!

A Spider and Its Exoskeleton in the Ear Canal

A spider and its exoskeleton in the ear canal

A 64-year-old patient presented to the otolaryngology clinic after experiencing odd sounds in her left ear for four days. Her medical history was significant for hypertension. She had awoken on the day of symptom onset with the sensation of a thing moving inside her left ear. Insomnia had resulted from the constant thumping, clicking, and rustling sounds. A little spider was detected moving into the external auditory canal of the left ear canal during physical examination.

The spider’s moulted exoskeleton was also present. The tympanic membrane appeared to be normal. A suction cannula inserted through an otoscope was used to extract the spider and its exoskeleton. In the case of larger spiders or insects in the external auditory canal, instilling lidocaine or ethanol before removal is recommended to minimise excessive movement and consequent harm to the ear components. If the tympanic membrane has been ruptured, liquids should not be introduced into the ear. The patient’s symptoms improved promptly after the spider and exoskeleton were removed.

How to get rid of a spider in the ear

If a bug cannot be removed from the ear at home, it is critical to contact a doctor as soon as possible to avoid problems. If an insect is left in the ear, it may continue to sting or scratch, causing irritation or a ruptured eardrum. Infection is also a possibility. The doctor will use an otoscope to examine the interior of the ear. If the bug is still alive, they will normally use mineral or olive oil to kill it before flushing it out of the ear with sterile water. In some cases, antibiotics are advised to prevent infection. If flushing it out is tough, they may try to grab it with a pair of tiny forceps. Local anaesthesia is usually all that is required to keep a person still and calm.


There is no way to guarantee that a bug will never go inside the ear, but people can take a few precautions. These are some examples:

  • When spending time outdoors, use bug repellant.
  • Using earplugs while camping and keeping the house clean to limit the possibility of insects indoors.
  • If an insect does go inside the ear, simple home remedies can typically be used to remove it. If these do not work, you must consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Causes of ear pain

The most common cause of ear pain is an infection. When the ear becomes infected, inflammation and pressure accumulation produce excruciating agony.

Because infections from neighbouring locations can influence the ear, people with ear infections frequently have other symptoms such as sinus congestion or a sore throat. An ear infection can also be treated as a separate condition. The majority of ear infections are caused by bacteria rather than viruses.

An ear infection can only be diagnosed by a doctor. People should not use antibiotics without a prescription, nor should they assume that their symptoms are the result of an ear infection.

Earaches, on the other hand, are not usually caused by an ear infection. Other illnesses might also cause ear ache. These include, referred pain, chronic conditions, skin infections and allergic reactions.

If left untreated, ear infections can cause severe complications

Ear infections can spread to the jaw and other parts of the body if left untreated. They can also harm the ear and trigger high fevers.

When symptoms of an ear condition appear and do not go away after a day or two, people should consult a doctor. People should seek medical assistance promptly if the pain is severe, accompanied by a high fever, or includes hearing loss.

Source: NEJM

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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