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How to Remove an Insect From Your Ear

Updated on April 28, 2017
CrisSp profile image

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 | Source

Never Probe the Ear Canal With a Tool

Source

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. | Source

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). | Source

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


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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.

© 2013 CrisSp

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    • profile image

      N. Maseko 5 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      MUFADDAL H BOOTWALA 8 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      justine jeric f abueva 9 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Anu 10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Susan 11 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Shanna 11 months ago

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 18 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      sriv: Thank you.

    • sriv profile image

      Parul Srivastava 18 months ago from Lucknow,India

      Great first aid information!

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 19 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 23 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • profile image

      lanz 24 months ago

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

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • profile image

      wendy 2 years ago

      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 profile image
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      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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. :)

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 2 years ago from Alabama

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

    • CrisSp profile image
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      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      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 profile image
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      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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.

    • profile image

      feonna 2 years ago

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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!

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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. :)

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

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

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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.

    • profile image

      David olaoye 3 years ago

      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 profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      LongTimeMother: Thank you.

    • CrisSp profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • CrisSp profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Very interesting. Voted up. :)

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 3 years ago from Pune, India

      Very useful Hub, thank you for sharing this information.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      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.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • profile image

      dreamseeker2 3 years ago

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

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • CrisSp profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • CrisSp profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • CrisSp profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      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.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      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.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 3 years ago from Vernon British Columbia Canada

      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!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Wouldn't want creepy crawlies in my ears.

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 3 years ago from Texas

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

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

      ouch!

      I pray it does not happen ever.

      interesting hub indeed, Crisp

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 3 years ago from USA

      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.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

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

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image
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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

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

    • CrisSp profile image
      Author

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      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 profile image

      DemiT 3 years ago from Greece

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

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      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

    • theluckywriter profile image

      Stephanie 3 years ago from Canada

      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!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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

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