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How to Remove an Insect From Your Ear

Author:

CrisSp is your Emergency Specialist at 37 thousand feet. Domestic Diva depending on the mood. Surely, WonderWoman consumed by wanderlust!

Summer is here and the bugs are out. Get ready to play outdoors! Insect repellents are now in demand. Hopefully, you use one that is all-natural.

You're outside, minding your own business, when suddenly you hear a loud buzzing sound. To your horror, you realize that the noise is actually coming from inside your own ears.

Yes, this can actually happen. Having a live insect in your ear can be very disturbing, not to mention annoying. Small insects, like moths, beetles, gnats, and other small winged critters, can accidentally enter our ears; however, once they are there, they cannot fly or crawl out anymore. They're stuck. They will try to fly their way out, and their movements inside our ears can be very uncomfortable, painful, itchy, and scary. In some cases, in may even lead to an infection.

Structure of the Outer and Inner Ear Canal

Removing insect from ear

Removing insect from ear

Never Probe the Ear Canal With a Tool

how-to-remove-insect-from-ear-first-aid

Warning

Never try to remove an insect with any kind of tool, including:

  • cotton swabs (Q-tips)
  • tweezers
  • hair clips or bobby pins

This can make the situation much worse. It can lodge the insect deeper into your ear canal and may damage your eardrum, potentially causing permanent hearing loss.

It is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

However, you can also get rid of it immediately by the following techniques.

Step 1 - Keep Calm

Keep calm and tilt your head.

Keep calm and tilt your head.

How to Remove an Insect From Your Ear

  1. Keep Calm - If it is your child or someone else, ask them to stay calm and give him or her re-assurance. Don’t panic.
  2. Put the person in a comfortable position – Lean over or lie on a flat surface with the affected ear facing upward.
  3. Get some oil (baby oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, mineral oil) – Stay still and pour in oil gently through the affected ear. This will stop the insect from moving around inside the ear and the insect will eventually die. NOTE: If any of this oil is not readily available, you may use clean water, but make sure to slowly pour it through.
  4. Optional step - Wet a cotton ball with alcohol. Squeeze it and let droplets of alcohol go through the ear. Be careful, this may sting and can be painful. The alcohol will evaporate but the smell will pressure the insect to come out. This will also disinfect the ear. If you can't do this, proceed to number 5.
  5. Flush the ear with warm water – Use a syringe (without the needle) if one is available to swish it out. Otherwise, a measuring cup with a small spout will be good enough. Let the water slowly overflow and watch for the insect to be flushed out.
  6. Follow Up – Make a follow-up appointment with your doctor after this removal technique to ensure that you did not damage the inside of the ear during the course of removal.

Important Warning As advised by the Mayo Clinic, DO NOT use this method if:

  • For a child if ear tubes are in place.
  • If you think the eardrum may be perforated (signs of this are pain, bleeding or discharge from the ear).
Flush the ear with water using a syringe (without the needle).

Flush the ear with water using a syringe (without the needle).

Summing Up

This is the basic game plan:

  1. Kill the insect by drowning it. The emergency is over once the insect is dead.
  2. See your doctor as soon as possible.

Important Notes:

  • This process usually works. However, if for some reasons the insect decides to stick around and won’t come out, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
  • When the insect comes out, carefully check it for some missing parts, like the head, legs, etc. If you notice any missing parts, again seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Test Your Knowledge -1

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What do you call an ear doctor?
    • Cosmetologist
    • Ophthalmologist
    • Otolaryngologist

Answer Key

  1. Otolaryngologist

Test your knowledge-2

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What does the idiomatic expression, “Put a bug in your ear” means?
    • Annoy someone.
    • Give someone a reminder or suggestion relating to a future event.
    • Put your earphone and sing out loud.

Answer Key

  1. Give someone a reminder or suggestion relating to a future event.

Bonus Ear Fact

Did you know that earwax in small amounts could actually be useful for you?

It serves as natural cleanser as it moves out of the ear. It protects the skin of the ear canal and helps in the lubrication. Tests have also shown that it provides protection from bacteria, fungi, insects, and water.

Disclaimer

The author is NOT a medical practitioner. However, she is certified in first aid and holds a degree in medical science. This information is only intended for first aid purposes. Reader’s discretion is advised in using the techniques.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 CrisSp

Comments

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 02, 2019:

Thank you. Hopefully, it doesn't happen to you.

SHREENIDHI from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India on September 15, 2019:

Such a useful article.. never knew these techniques before thank you so much for this srticle

Kate on October 07, 2018:

Hi can u help me I'm 11 yrs old a bug stuck in my ear what should I do?

Margaret Bennan on July 05, 2018:

My friend last week got a fly in her ear....it was buzzing like mad but she managed to kill it......but it dident come out.....what should she do.....will it work its way out....

Anupam on September 28, 2017:

Thanks for your suggestions.. i hope it will help me take insects away

Digz B Kalita on August 14, 2017:

I am really very thankful for such a great information...

Shaukat iqbal on June 06, 2017:

Thanks for nice tips

N. Maseko on April 22, 2017:

Thank you sooooo much the tips you gave, very easy to understand. Thanks once more

MUFADDAL H BOOTWALA on September 06, 2016:

My son has put a piece of eraser in my wife's ear. She is in pain. But I can't see any piece of eraser in side. What could be the reason of pain and swelling. How to treat it at home.

justine jeric f abueva on August 28, 2016:

thank you very very much,im gonna proceed now to a doctor,beacause an insect in my ear won't come out,thank you for this article it is helpful.thank you very very very very much!

Anu on July 18, 2016:

Thank you very much.i removed an ant in my ear using this tips. Now I'm safe thank you.

Susan on June 29, 2016:

How do you stop tiny - smaller than a pin end - insects from getting into your ears at night

Shanna on June 23, 2016:

It happend to me just now, unfortunately im alone in the house its hard to put oil inside the ears.. as of the moment the insect is still in my ears, i can hear the wings flipping,

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on December 01, 2015:

sriv: Thank you.

Parul Srivastava from Lucknow,India on November 29, 2015:

Great first aid information!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 16, 2015:

Nick: This first aid trick should help you. However, I still suggest that you go see your doctor even if you think the bug is out of your ears. Keep well.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 19, 2015:

lanz: Glad to hear about your son and happy that you find this hub useful. Keep well.

lanz on June 08, 2015:

Very helpful tip. My son feels better when i put small amount of oil inside his ear. Thanks.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on April 19, 2015:

wendy: I hope the bug is out of your ears and that you're feeling better now.

wendy on April 16, 2015:

Just happened to me in my sleep and am terrified right now, felt it walking up my ear then I used d water without thinking twice. Dont know it's status right now...

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 31, 2014:

Oscarlites: It could be annoying and scary and that is why it's important to know what to do in case it happens. Thank you for reading and commenting. Glad that those uninvited foreigners in your ears are gone and hopefully will not come back anymore. :)

Oscar Jones from Monroeville, Alabama on August 29, 2014:

good article. I know a few bugs have invaded my ear canals. I'm glad they aren't there now though!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on July 24, 2014:

The Examiner: Thank you for reading and I'm glad you find this useful. Like you, I don't use any chemical sprays in the house considering my allergy and lung sensitivity. Sometimes, the primitive way works best. :) Appreciate the vote and all.

The Examiner-1 on July 20, 2014:

That was very useful since I have gnats/fruit flies, spiders, and various other small bugs in this house - because I do not use chemical killers. I agree with what you said about drowning the bugs. I voted it up and U/I.

Kevin

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 20, 2014:

feonna: Yes, you can but I would suggest using oil instead of water for your child. Slowly pour some oil and wait few minutes then tilt her head on the other side. The idea is to drown the bug. Whatever is bugging her will die and will come out. Don't use cotton buds to avoid pushing whatever is in the child's ear. Hope she feels better and thank you for stopping by.

feonna on June 19, 2014:

My 1yr old child been touching her ear and been crying for 10sec then just stopped crying, i thought she had smething in her ears... can i still do the procedure even if im not sure if something is really there?

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on February 15, 2014:

Efficient Admin: Hello and thank you. I do hope nothing like this happens to you cause it absolutely hurts and it could be scary too. And yeah, save those earwax. They're there to protect you. Lol!

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on February 13, 2014:

Very interesting! I have never heard of insects getting stuck in an ear but now I know what to do if it ever happens to me or someone else. I have a whole lot of earwax in my ears so hopefully that will keep them out LOL!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on December 14, 2013:

grand old lady: Great to see you here. Thank you for reading, it's never too late...keep the first aid in mind and be well. :)

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on December 14, 2013:

As a child I used to feel like a bug was crawling in my ear. Wish I read this article then.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 21, 2013:

Hello David! Thank you for your readership and leaving a comment. I'm sorry for your "crawling insect" experience. However, I am pleased that the water solution has worked great for you. It's actually proven effective. Keep well now.

David olaoye on October 21, 2013:

The water solution worked miraculously! A crawling insect like centipede crwaled into my left ear while aspleep. It was a very bad experience! gripped with fear! I searched for it on the net and I found water solution. It scarily flushed out. I was scared of the kind of long insect that came out of my left ear. Thanks for the information.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 01, 2013:

LongTimeMother: Thank you.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 01, 2013:

jainismus: It's been a while and happy to see you back here. Thank you for coming by.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 01, 2013:

Thank you Denise. Glad you found it useful. I sincerely appreciate the votes and the share. Cheers!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 01, 2013:

Hey there Sunshine! Very nice to see you here and don't panic. Trust me, the bugs are rather in panic mode than you are and would struggle to get out. So, calm down. :) Natural product is always a great choice. Gotta try that Avon Skin So Soft. Thank you for reading and commenting.

LongTimeMother from Australia on July 30, 2013:

Very interesting. Voted up. :)

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on July 30, 2013:

Very useful Hub, thank you for sharing this information.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 29, 2013:

What a very useful hub, and very interesting. I really found it helpful to visualize what tools NOT to use...for sure I would have grabbed those tweezers, but it makes sense about pushing it further down. Thanks for the helpful information here. :) UP/U/I and shared.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on July 29, 2013:

Oh my, I'd panic! I would not want a bug buzzing around in my ear. Thank you for the advice on what to do! I do use all natural products...Avon Skin So Soft, works great to keep those critters away! :)

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 13, 2013:

dreamseeker2: Thank you. Glad you found it useful. Appreciate the vote.

dreamseeker2 on June 13, 2013:

Found your hub interesting and useful. Good to know! : ) Voted it up and accordingly!!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

aviannovice: I thought it's great to write some evergreen here once in a while and I'm glad about the positive feedback from readers like you. The oil sure did the trick on you and hopefully, it won't happen again. Thank you for coming by. Always good to see you. Take care now and say hello to our feathered friends in the sky. *smile*

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

janetwrites: Thank you. Glad you find it useful. Summer is here and the bugs are out and about partying with us and playing with the kids. So, take care.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

KoraleeP: Bug in your eye? Woah, that sounds "eek" as well. Glad to know nothing serious happened to you and that you're here reading and hubbing. Thank you. Have a great summer away from the bugs now. *smile*

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

vkwok: No, you don't but thank you for coming by. :)

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

Alphadogg16: Thank you. I hope not but it's always good to know, eh? Enjoy your summer away from the bugs now.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

Ruchira, please include me in your prayer. *smile* Good to see you here. Thank you for reading.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 10, 2013:

Barbara: My pleasure to share and yes, I hope it doesn't happen to anyone of us (kids specially). Take care and thank you for stopping by.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 08, 2013:

I recall something like this happening when I was a child. I believe my mother used warm oil, and it sure did the trick. This is excellent material to know, because like you said, it can cause infection and is very uncomfortable. Good work.

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on June 08, 2013:

Fortunately, I have never had a bug in my ear. But this is very useful in case this may happen sometime. Thank you for sharing this useful information.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on June 07, 2013:

Great information...Thanks CriSp for sharing this. I hope I never have to use these tips lol, but I'm really glad to know what to do. I had a bug in my eye once when I was a kid and it freaked me out horribly. It was the thought that bugged me the most (no pun intended). Now that it's almost summer I think is a great time to share your suggestions!

Victor W. Kwok from Hawaii on June 06, 2013:

Wouldn't want creepy crawlies in my ears.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

bravewarrior (Shauna), I'm sure you wouldn't want to be that accommodating for them. Lol! Thanks for dropping by. Happy to see you here. Now, beware of the bugs! *smile*

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

livingsta: You're welcome and thank you for stopping by, for the votes and for the share. See you around HP.

Kevin W from Texas on June 06, 2013:

Very interesting and informative hub, hopefully I never need to use this information.

Ruchira from United States on June 06, 2013:

ouch!

I pray it does not happen ever.

interesting hub indeed, Crisp

Barbara Badder from USA on June 06, 2013:

I hope it doesn't happen to anyone here, but it is nice to have the knowledge I need if it does. Thanks for sharing.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 06, 2013:

Great tip, Cris. I'll remember it if a bug ever decides to move into my ears.

livingsta from United Kingdom on June 06, 2013:

Great tips. Insects in the ear can be very annoying and these can cause severe pain sometimes. Thank you for sharing these tips with us. Voted up and sharing!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

DemiT: Lol! No one wants those uninvited guests but it's nice to be ready when they come crashing in specially in the cave of our ears. You have a great summer down Greece away from the bugs! Thank you.

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

Hi Faith! I know how it feels (shiver) but things could happen and it's best to be prepared. Summer time is here, the bugs are out partying with us. Know what to do! Thank you for your time reading this and for your generous votes and very kind gesture to share. Take care.

Love from the sky~

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

theluckywriter: I hope not but it's always good to know, eh? Lol! I can imagine you covering your ears with your hands as you read this. :) Thank you for stopping by. Bust those bugs and enjoy your summer!

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

Ericdierker: Thank you and you're welcome. You know the trick...drown those creepies. Swim! (:

CrisSp (author) from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 06, 2013:

Hi bill! No, you don't want that to happen to you. It's kind of scary...take care and as always, thank you for always being there. All is well....

Love from the sky~

DemiT on June 06, 2013:

Thank you for the info, although i definitely don't want any insect in my ear!! thanks for sharing!!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on June 06, 2013:

Just the thought of such makes me shiver. Thanks for the great tip here. I hope it never happens to me!

Voted up ++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper

Stephanie from Canada on June 06, 2013:

Oh no. This is so horrifying. I have a sudden urge to throw my hands over my ears.

Thanks for sharing this very important info...that I hope I will NEVER have to use! Ha!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 05, 2013:

Where bugs do this is near great waters. In arid climates the issue can be solved easier with a nose bulb because nothing gets sticky.

In the ocean or deep rivers we just make them so swimming, head under for as long as it takes.

this article was way cool and taught mucho. Thanks much.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 05, 2013:

How interesting. I have never had this happen to me, thank goodness. Great tips here Cris.

I hope you are well. Sending you hugs from Olympia.

bill