Doctors made a shocking discovery after a woman arrived at a Taiwan clinic and complained of unexplainable noises in her ear.
The 64-year-old woman walked into the ear, nose and throat clinic and told doctors she had been hearing “abnormal sounds” in her left ear for four days, according to a case report published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Oct. 21.
The patient was also showing signs of hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, the doctors said.
She said she woke up one morning and could feel something moving around in her ear, then heard “beating, clicking and rustling sounds,” according to the case report.
The sounds became so loud that she struggled to sleep, the doctors said.
Using a small camera, the doctors looked into the woman’s ear canal — and saw a spider looking back.
The New England Journal of Medicine shared a video of the spider on X, formerly known as Twitter.
A woman with hypertension presented to the clinic with a 4-day history of abnormal sounds in her ear. On examination, a small spider was seen moving within the external auditory canal of the left ear. The molted exoskeleton of the spider was also present. https://t.co/dye2sbbiL9 pic.twitter.com/SfeNBBGQS8
— NEJM (@NEJM) October 25, 2023
As the small, beady-eyed arachnid walked around the inside of the ear canal, its exoskeleton sat nearby.
Spiders shed their exoskeletons when they grow, according to Cornell University, and will usually try to find a safe burrow or retreat to protect themselves during the vulnerable time.
For this spider, which was not identified, the “safe burrow” was a woman’s ear.
The spider was safely removed with a suction tool and the woman’s symptoms, including her elevated blood pressure, stopped immediately, according to the case report.
“I would not survive this,” one X user wrote in response to the video.
“Well that’s enough internet for me today, (thanks),” another said.
“Should I add this to my list of secondary causes of hypertension?” another user asked.
Cases of live insects inside the ear are, unfortunately, not as rare as they might seem.
David Kasle, an ENT physician at ENT Sinus and Allergy of South Florida, told NBC News that doctors in his profession find “tens, if not more, of bugs or some sort of arthropod” in patients’ ear canals during their career.
Kasle, who was not involved in the case report, called the situation “unusual and disturbing,” NBC News reported.