Should an individual find that a small insect has crawled or flown into their ear, they should try to draw it out with a light or seek immediate professional assistance, Taitung-based otolaryngologist Yu Wen-yi (余文儀) said on Tuesday.
Yu issued the warning after his clinic on Monday treated two patients with insects in their ears.
The first, a woman about 30 years old, arrived at the clinic in the morning complaining about something that felt like it had spiky legs going deeper and deeper into her ear, he said.
Yu said that he found and extracted a live cockroach that had nearly reached her eardrum.
He said that the woman was incredulous about the incident and later told him that she felt the discomfort begin after she put on her scooter helmet
Not 30 minutes after the woman left, a man arrived at the clinic complaining about pain in his ear, Yu said.
Yu cited the man as saying that the pain started after he woke up and that he tried using a cotton swab, but decided to seek help after that effort appeared to have driven the source of the pain farther inward.
Yu said that he pulled out a live fly from the man’s ear.
Insects frequently enter people’s ears, he said, but added that it was extremely rare to have two patients complain about insects — particularly medium-sized ones — in their ears in one morning.
Both patients sustained only minor damage to their eardrums and external auditory canal, he said.
Shining a bright light into the ear can help lure out smaller insects from ear canals, as they are drawn toward light, Yu said.
However, professional help is required for larger insects, as the narrow ear canal can become a “one-way street” for an invading insect, he said.
People should keep their homes tidy to reduce the chances of an infestation by cockroaches or ants, Yu said, adding that scooter riders should wear helmets that completely cover their face to prevent insects from flying into their ear.
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