What one New Zealand man thought was a plugged and itchy ear from swimming turned out to be something far more disgusting when he went to the doctor to have it checked out.
Zane Wedding had gone for a swim at his local Auckland, N.Z., pool last week, and woke up the next day with a plugged ear. He told The Guardian he could feel something squirming inside, but thought it was just the movement of the suspected water.
He went to the doctor to have his ear drained with a syringe and was given antibiotics, with instructions to blow-dry the ear.
“Immediately after, it felt way worse,” said Wedding, adding that he completely lost hearing in that ear and couldn’t sleep.
He booked an appointment with an ear doctor on Monday, who took a look into Wedding’s ear canal.
“Literally the second she looked, she said, ‘Oh my god … I think you have an insect in your ear.’”
The creature was dead and Wedding told the New Zealand Herald that he had been “doing a boil-up of that cockroach” with the blow dryer until it died. He also shared a photo of the dead bug on his Facebook page.
The doctor was able to extract the bug quickly using a suction device and some tweezers, and Wedding told his doctor to keep the bug as a memento.
Wedding told The Herald that he’s not sure where and when the cockroach climbed into his ear, but said he’s taking action to hopefully prevent it from happening again.
“It still gives me the creeps. We’ve got the fumigator coming in on Friday.”
It’s certainly not the first time doctors have extracted the insect from a person’s ear.
In 2019, doctors in China removed approximately a dozen cockroaches that had hatched in a man’s ear canal after he complained of scratching noises and pain.
SELF magazine investigated how common it is for cockroaches to find an ear canal to call home, and it’s not as uncommon, or dangerous, as one might believe.
In a video shared to YouTube, Matthew Frye, an entomologist with New York State Integrated Pest Management says that cockroaches “aren’t actively looking to get into a human ear. In general, a lot of the time that an organism would crawl into an ear is because they’re looking for a dark, protected place.”
Unfortunately, though, he adds that cockroaches are probably the most common pest to wind up in people’s ears.
According to the Canadian government website, cockroaches generally don’t tolerate the cold very well, so (thankfully) they are not as prevalent in Canada as they are in other parts of the world.
We’re not totally in the clear, however — they do warn that the pests have been found in buildings as far north as Nunavut.
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