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Few things are more annoying than that buzzing sound when an insect is flying near your ear. And the annoyance can turn to something more serious if that insect decides to fly into the ear. Once the insect flies in the ear canal, it can be slightly uncomfortable or very painful and it puts you at risk for an infection. There are a few things you can try to remove the insect, but it is best if you seek medical attention immediately.
How to Know?
Most cases of insects flying into the ear occur when camping. You could either be sleeping on the ground or just spending more time outdoors when a fly decides to head straight into the ear. The buzzing should wake you up if you are sleeping and most likely you will be able to identify that it is indeed an insect in your ear. Children have a much more difficult time verbalizing their pain and discomfort. It will be more difficult for them to distinguish the sensation from something else, so it is best not to try any removal techniques on children. Seek medical attention for them right away.
Do not put your fingers into your ear. Shoving a finger into the ear could cause the insect to bite or sting, which will only make you more uncomfortable. First try lying down on your side with the ear facing up. Wait calmly for a couple of minutes and ask a friend to monitor if the insect flies out by itself.
If the insect fails to come out, you can try using oil. Mineral oil, olive oil or baby oil are all safe to use. Do not use anything else and be sure that the object in the ear is an insect. The oil could cause other objects to react differently causing more problems. Ask a friend to pour the oil (room temperature) into the ear. Pull the lobe of the ear backward and upward. The oil should kill the insect. It will drown in the oil and float to the top. Extract the insect and seek medical attention just to ensure that there is no chance of an infection. If the insect doesn't come out, go to the emergency room.
What the Doctor Will Do?
The doctor will examine your ear canal with an otoscope. This device will help the doctor examine the internal structure of the ear and identify the object that is causing pain. The doctor will then use either mineral oil or lidocaine to kill the insect and then flush out the ear with a warm water irrigation. After the insect is removed, the doctor will give you antibiotic drops to decrease the chance of infection.