Woman’s Ear Turns Out to Be a Live Spider Shedding

It has the feel of a spooky Halloween story.

A 64-year-old woman in Taiwan had a tiny spider living in her ear. When the woman’s ear was examined by medical professionals, they found the spider had shed its exoskeleton and was still alive.

The New England Journal of Medicine case study states, “She had awoken to the feeling of a creature moving inside her left ear.”

According to Cornell University, as they mature, spiders lose their skins; hence, the spider became bigger after entering her ear.

She reported hearing “incessant beating, clicking, and rustling sounds” for the next four days, according to the study, but she didn’t seek medical attention until the noise started causing her to have sleeplessness.

Upon examining the woman, medical professionals found a live spider scuttling about the external auditory canal, which links the external ear to the tympanic membrane, also known as the eardrum.

The woman’s ear canal also contained the exoskeleton of the spider. The Journal of Medicine in New England
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The study reports that the spider’s ascent around her eardrum had not pierced it.

Using a suction cannula, the spider and its exoskeleton were removed, and the study reports that “the patient’s symptoms immediately abated.” She was no longer aware of the spider.

This is not the first time that medical professionals have found an insect in a patient’s ear; in 2019, a woman in Kansas City, Miss., discovered a brown recluse, a spider that is known to be extremely poisonous, in her ear. Similarly, this past May, a family in Arkansas found ticks had burrowed into their toddler’s ear.

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However, using earplugs while sleeping is not required.

According to NBC News, otolaryngology lecturer Dr. Stacey Ishman of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health frequently sees patients who have gone camping when they have bugs in their ears.

“Most of the time the ear is completely fine,” Ishman told NBC News, estimating that in her 23-year career, she had seen about eight patients with bugs in their ears. “To be honest, people trying to remove the bug more often cause injuries to the ear canal than the actual bug.”

Furthermore, according to a Scientific American article, spiders aren’t particularly interested in people when they crawl inside your mouth.

Bill Shear, a biology professor at Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College and a past president of the American Arachnological Society, told Scientific American that spiders “view us much like they’d regard a big rock.” “We truly are just a part of the landscape because we are so big.”
In other words, spiders don’t want to bother you.

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