While it is rare for insects to crawl or fly into a person’s ear, an otolaryngologist on Thursday revealed the case of a man who not only had a fly enter his ear, but was also left a few of its offspring in his ear canal as a parting gift.
Fang Te-yung (方德詠), an ear, nose and throat specialist at Cathay General Hospital, said the case concerned a man surnamed Wu (吳) who was recently treated by the hospital.
Wu had been playing sports with friends when he felt a fly enter his ear and although he visited a doctor and had it removed, he could still sense something moving in his ear, Fang said.
Later, severe pain prompted Wu to go to the hospital’s emergency room, where doctors discovered that there were four maggots in his ear, just on the cusp of his eardrum and the inner ear canal, Fang added.
The doctors sucked the maggots out of his ear, finally allowing him some respite.
According to Fang, Wu’s was an unusual case, adding that although insects such as ants, cockroaches or mosquitoes sometimes enter the human ear while people are asleep, it is not so often that flies exhibit the same behavior.
As the human ear canal and eardrum are very sensitive places, it is very easy to detect when something enters the area, Fang said, adding that extreme pain is usually one of the indicators.
Fang said that the type of fly that had entered Wu’s ear seemed to be of the Sarcophaga peregrina subspecies, adding that he suspects that when the first doctor extracted the fly from Wu’s ear canal, the maggots were “squeezed” out of the fly and landed inside Wu’s ear canal.
Fang said that if people experience ear pain, they should immediately have their ears examined by an ear, nose and throat specialist, adding that if immediate medical assistance is not available, and the patient is sure that their eardrums have never ruptured, they can try filling their ear with baby oil.
Using oil slows down the insects, and after a while the patient should tilt their head and let the oil flow out, which might bring out the culprit, Fang said.
Whether this works or not, people should still visit their doctors at a later date for a full checkup, Fang said, adding that people should also avoid picking their ears to avoid driving the insects deeper.