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  • Category: Doctor Speak

    Spider in ear 3 weeks, nothing kills it!

    I have this little problem. Somehow, a BUG got into my right ear.

    At first I thought it was a small variety of fly, but flies only live a few days. When this lived a week, I knew what it wasn't. The way it crawled around felt distinctly spider-like. I'm pretty sure that's what it is. Crawly and disgusting. I haven't been bitten, to my knowledge, despite so many attacks on it, and I don't have any pain worth mentioning.

    All right. So some vegetable oil will suffocate it, right?


    After two weeks, I saw the doc. He put in oil, too. No cigar. He used a device to squirt water and suction it out vigorously. Nice, but no cigar.

    I went home. During the next week, I used oil five times. He must have made a web as a hidey-hole, where the oil wouldn't penetrate and he'd have a nice air pocket. As soon as the oil was gone, he went back to work.

    FIVE times.

    So I broke down and tried using Raid. I worried about toxic effects, but by that time I didn't care. Over the next four days, I put Raid into my ear. It DID have a debilitating effect each time, but within another 12-18 hours, he was moving again. He wasn't doing his "work" as he did with the oil, but he WAS still alive and able to move. Worse, because after a few more hours after he started moving again, he got more active. Somehow, he was RECOVERING from the Raid!

    I've never heard of such a thing. I seem to have an IMMORTAL spider in my ear. Now, going on three weeks of rather excessively intimate contact, I'm going NUTS!

    The bug isn't small, but not huge, either - possibly with a body the size of a fly.

    Can anybody offer some suggestions before I spend another bundle to have my doctor try to remove it again? Any ideas what KIND of spider it might be? I live in Mexico, near Guadalajara. The tropics, of course, and all tropical areas are excessively buggy.

    Feeling that thing crawling around in my ear is nauseating, to say the least. Please help if you can!
  • #2680
    Hello Holly
    Sorry for late reply and again sorry to know that a bug has made a home in your ear :(
    Well in all these days it seems that you have made a whole lot of attempts to remove the bug and its home in your ear; but to no success!

    Now, instead of making any more home attempts towards the bug, I would really suggest you to visit a ENT doctor and have the bug removed with his help.

    Because the more we do anything, the more deeper the bug may go!

    Tamhane Ameya Avinash

  • #2681
    Thanks for your post Dr. Apurva Tamhane

  • #2682
    Thanks for the response. You're right. The bug does seem to have gone deeper. It is also more quiescent. When my ear faces a lightbulb, it used to crawl toward the light. Now it makes thumping sounds. Against my eardrum, I think (but maybe not, per my doctor). My hearing in that ear is slightly diminished, but not a lot. The "buzzing" we all have in our heads has been much more intense since the bug arrived, too. There was some aching pain in my jaw joint, but it's better now.

    If I use hydrogen peroxide or oil, it DOES crawl around frantically. If I press as q-tip to it, it BITES, hard and repeatedly. I sense no venom, though. And fear NOT! I won't use insecticide again! It didn't work, except to make him frantic and angry, and I don't need the crashing headache!

    My doctor told me I was probably imagining it, because HE couldn't see it. But his device doesn't see into the ear deeply enough. This critter lives very deep, roughly where my earlobe is on the outside. The doc says it can't have access to the eardrum, because that's in the INNER ear. Maybe so, but it sure feels like that's where he spends his time. He sometimes blocks off my hearing temporarily.

    He's in a quiescent stage now. I don't know what it's about, but I do know it isn't dead. The doctor set up an appointment with a Eye, Ear and Throat specialist from Guadalajara, who'd come to my clinic. I think he told her that I was imagining it - she stood me up. I know of no other in this area of Mexico.

    So I've just got to let it live out its "normal" life, and wait for it to die on its own. I don't know what else I can do.

    I am not REMOTELY prone to flights of fancy - I'm a total pragmatist. Even though I live alone and can't socialize much because of my spinal disability, I can miss socializing to some degree, but am not at all uncomfortable with solitude. There is nothing in my personality that could make me scream for attention. And nothing imagination could do to me could make an "imaginary" bug bite this HARD.

    I wrote to an entomology society. There was one reply, but since he didn't know of a bug which could live in an ear very long, he, too, thought I was delusional! Well maybe he doesn't know of one, and maybe I've GOT one that he doesn't know this fact about. Besides which, there was a story in the news some years ago about a guy who'd been camping out in South America who returned with a bunch of spiders living merrily in his ear. Seems nobody believed him either, for a long time. They used a tiny camera to see them. I guess the entomologist never heard of that, either.

    I can't blame anyone for this, but it IS frustrating. Delusions about bugs are usually about teensy ones, usually on the skin. Mine is good sized, maybe a tick. If so, it would already have made me sick if it had a lovely disease to offer, so I'm safe on that score.

    There's no way to be sure at ALL what kind of bug it is. It walks around like a spider, but probably other kinds can, too. At least, while I'm waiting for it to croak, it isn't giving me as much grief as it did before. It's still there, though, and still alive, because it thumps when drawn to light. No need to use peroxide any more, which will only result in more biting and crawling around. He's gotta die sometime!

    So I'll just wait.

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