A spider has made its home in the ear of a Taiwanese woman. The woman went to the hospital complaining that for several days she had been hearing strange noises on one side. As it turned out, there was a spider in the ear canal that even molted there.
A 64-year-old woman presented to the ENT clinic at Tainan Municipal Hospital, Taiwan. The patient told the doctors that for four days she had been hearing clicking, rustling sounds coming from her left ear, loud enough to make it impossible to fall asleep. This case was published in “The New England Journal of Medicine”.
Microscopic, but bothersome
The woman told the doctors about another important thing: on the day the symptoms began, she woke up with a strange feeling that a creature was moving inside her ear. Doctors decided to check this by looking into the ear canal.
There was a small spider that was crawling along the walls of the ear canal. Next to it was its molt – an old exoskeleton that these arthropods shed as they grow.
– The patient did not feel pain because the spider was very small, only about 2-3 millimeters long – said Tengchin Wang from the otolaryngology department at Tainan Municipal Hospital.
Warm, dark environment
Cases of spiders entering the ear canals are quite rare. The area is warm and dark, which likely encourages arthropods to explore it.
As Wang told NBC News, he has already encountered invertebrates entering the ears – ants, moths and cockroaches. However, this is the first case in his career of a spider molting inside the ear canal. Doctors removed the spider and its exoskeleton from the woman’s ear using a special suction cup.
The authors conveyed that when the intruders are larger, local anesthesia should be used and the invertebrate should be killed prior to removal to prevent it from damaging the internal structures of the ear. Experts recommend that if you experience similar symptoms, it is worth seeing a specialist, even if the insect or spider has left the ear – fragments of its body may have remained inside.
Main photo source: Tengchin Wang