It can be quite scary to have an insect in your ear. Insects such as moths, cockroaches, ladybugs and beetles can crawl into your ears when you are sleeping or doing something outside. Entomologists suspect that insects crawl into the ear canal to keep warm or safe. Whatever the reason, it's no fun having a bug in your ear. You will need to get the insect out to prevent hearing loss, ear damage, and infections.
Part 1 of 3: Getting ready to take the bug out
Step 1. Determine if you really have an insect in your ear
Your ears can be sensitive for many reasons. They can be painful and sensitive due to allergies or weather changes. If you have an insect in your ear, you may experience pain, swelling, blood and a crackling sound in your ear. You may even feel the insect bite or sting you. You may also suffer from hearing loss or dizziness.
Step 2. Keep calm
It might be scary to have an insect in your ear, but it's best to stay calm in this situation. If you move too much, the insect can get stuck further up the ear canal or crawl further back. It can also damage the sensitive inner ear or eardrum.
Step 3. Do not put any aids in your ear
Of course, you don't want to push the insect further into your ear or run the risk of accidentally hurting yourself even more. There are many nerve endings in the ear. You can damage these nerves by using tools such as a cotton swab or tweezers. Do not try to pry the insect out.
Step 4. Find the insect
If the insect has crawled all the way in against your eardrum, you may want to see your doctor to have the insect removed. Have someone shine a flashlight or illuminated magnifying glass in your ear to look for and identify the insect. You then know where the insect is and what type of insect it is.
Step 5. Get into a comfortable position
To prepare for removal, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You can sit somewhere comfortable and tilt your head so that you or a friend can easily reach the ear, or you may find it comfortable to lie on your side with your ear towards the ceiling.
Part 2 of 3: Getting the bug out
Step 1. Wiggle your ears
One way to get an insect out of your ear is to use gravity. Tilt your ear toward the floor and try to wiggle your ear. Grab the pinna (the outside of the ear) and wiggle it. If the insect is not very far into the ear canal, it may fall out on its own.
Step 2. Let the insect crawl out on its own
If the insect is still alive and not very far into the ear canal, it may come out on its own. If you stay calm and don't keep objects (like your fingers) near your ears, there's a chance the insect will find its way out.
Step 3. Rinse the ear with warm water using a pipette or balloon syringe
Keep your head upright and stretch the ear canal by pulling on the outer ear. Let a steady stream of water run into your ear. Tilt your head to the side to let the water drain out of your ear again. To avoid further damage, do not rinse your ear if you think your eardrum has ruptured.
Step 4. Use mineral oil to kill the insect
Drop one or two drops of mineral oil, baby oil, or olive oil into your ear canal to kill the insect. This prevents the insect from stinging you or from tearing your eardrum because the insect scratches or bites you.
Step 5. Go to a doctor to have the insect sucked out
A doctor or medical professional can use a special suction device to try and remove the insect. This device is typically used to remove earwax. Trying it yourself can be dangerous, so be sure to go to the emergency room or a doctor's office to have a professional remove the bug.
Part 3 of 3: Letting your ear heal afterwards
Step 1. Examine the insect for missing body parts
Make sure you have removed the entire insect from your ear. Missing parts can cause further problems, such as an ear infection. Carefully examine all the parts you have removed from your ear.
Step 2. Take it easy
Removing a live insect from your ear is a stressful process. Rinsing or suctioning your ear can also cause mild dizziness due to tension in the middle ear. At least one day after the procedure, try not to get up too quickly and to avoid strenuous exercise.
Step 3. Watch for signs of infection
The insect may have caused damage to your ear before it was completely removed. Signs of an ear infection include swelling, dizziness, hearing loss, fever, and pain.
Step 4. Make an appointment with your doctor
If you are not sure whether you have removed the entire insect from your ear or are concerned about an infection, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure you are completely healthy. Your GP can refer you to an otolaryngologist for further testing.