Ear Symptom – a Crackling Sound

“There’s a crackling in my ear! ”
“Something’s making popping sounds in my ears!”
He was a 20 year old man, and looked quite anxious. He couldn’t sit still, and the expression on his face just said “Help me!” He was grabbing and poking at his left ear. “Get it out!”
I’ve had other patients with ear symptoms with crackling noises, but this was different. I took a look inside and sure enough, there was a pincher bug inside the ear canal. With the magnification from the ear scope, the thing looked huge. I must say, I hate even the thought of having a bug in my ear, but this thing would be a nightmare. I seriously doubt whether I would be able to sit still enough for someone to get it out.
I told him he had a pincher bug in his ear, and he was revolted. “What is it even doing in there?!”
I thought about my answer carefully, and considered a joke to lighten his mood a bit. But somehow, I didn’t think it would help if I told him it was in there building a nest, and laying eggs. I ignored his question, and got a pair of forceps and grabbed the insect by the pointy part on his rear end.
It tried to scramble away from me, digging his wiggly little legs into the poor man’s ear canal as I dragged him from his hiding place. This was probably the worst part of all.
When it was over, the patient looked like he had just run a marathon. His face was red and sweaty and he stared at the pincher bug with horror. I put the bug in a plastic cup, and handed it to the patient. He looked at him for a moment, and then smashed it into dust with his thumb, while calling the bug some names I won’t repeat. He apologized for the profanity, but I completely understood.
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick 11.15.08 at 1:57 pm

Working in Phoenix, we see cockroaches in ears alot, the trick is to drown them with viscous lidocaine (also numbs the canal), before trying to remove them.

Tracey 11.15.08 at 10:55 pm

why didn’t you squirt a little mineral oil in his ear to smother the beatle so you could pull him out w/o causing him more pain? I have heard from EMTs I know that that is usually less painfull than just pulling the bug out.

Your ER Doc 11.19.08 at 2:50 pm

I actually use viscous lidocaine now on bugs in the ears, and it works pretty well. However, it doesn’t make for as good a story.

freddie 03.24.09 at 6:13 pm

why couldn’t you put one of those little vaccums by his ear and suck it out?
less painful.

i HAVE THE SAME THING!!!! 12.12.09 at 9:45 pm

PLEASE HELP ME!!!! i can control the crackling, when i touch my left ear and move it a little it cracks ive had this problem like for 1 week and a half. what should i do?

i HAVE THE SAME THING!!!! 12.12.09 at 9:45 pm

PLEASE HELP ME!!!! i can control the crackling, when i touch my left ear and move it a little it cracks ive had this problem like for 1 week and a half. what should i do?!!!@#@#@ mother*&*$%

Phuong To 05.14.10 at 6:52 pm

Go to the ER!!!!! I had a huge click beetle that crawled into my ear and it scared the doctor! The other option is to go to the shower and rinse your ear! That crackling is a bug in your ear! That beetle was no joke when it crawled into my ear when I slept at night!

T.J. Witherell 06.12.10 at 7:27 pm

buy a ear wax candle that burns in your ear and that should take care of it

Crazynewt 06.20.10 at 1:33 pm

Hey, I’m linking to this in my own blog.

I’m terrified of earwigs – phobic, really – and this story made my skin crawl. I was just reading through your back posts, having a good time… and now I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight.

So, um, yeah. Great blog, love it, but you’re not my favourite person at the moment. ;)

GPS Tracker 10.04.11 at 7:36 pm

This was informative but also a little difficult to read. I could not imagine the feeling of knowing a insect such as a pincher bug was crawling in my ear canal.

alan 11.04.13 at 4:46 pm

i have the same problem with crackling in my ear but the ear canal is empty. could it have burrowed into my head some how?

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