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Cockroach Crawls Into Woman's Ear, Gets Stuck For 9 Days

May 05, 2018 07:02 AM EDT
A Florida woman woke up one night to a cockroach burrowed inside her ear. It took over a week and two trips to the doctor to get it all out.
(Photo : Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt | AFP | Getty Images)

Cockroaches are bad enough invading the home, but it's even worse when they crawl inside the body, which is exactly what happened to Katie Holley.

The experience, the Florida resident says, is just as horrifying as one would imagine.

Finding A Cockroach In The Ear

Holley shared the experience in a self-penned essay in Self magazine, revealing that it began when she woke up in the middle of one night to a strange feeling in her ear. Knowing that a foreign object was lodged in her ear, she used a cotton swab to try getting it out, but only ended up with two little legs stuck on the tip.

Since cockroaches in the house are quite common in the humid climate of Florida, Holley knew immediately that it was one of these crawling insects that was in her ear. Her husband tried pulling out the cockroach from her ear with tweezers, but only managed to wrench another pair of legs from the insect trying to burrow its way deeper.

After another unsuccessful attempt at solving the problem themselves, the couple decided to go to the emergency room to get medical attention. At this point, Holley was in even more discomfort.

"Think of that humming sound you hear when you plug your ears and press really hard-that's what I heard and felt, on the left side of my head as the roach tried to crawl. It was bizarre," she describes in the essay.

At the hospital, the doctor used Lidocaine, a topical numbing agent, to kill the cockroach before pulling the insect out piece by piece. Afterward, Holley was given a prescription for antibiotics, both oral and topical.

Not Done Yet

The trip to the hospital wasn't the end of the ordeal, though. Throughout the following week, Holley did not see an improvement in the soreness of her ear and she remained unable to hear properly.

When she visited her physician to renew her daily meds nine days after the ER trip, it was discovered that six more pieces of the cockroach's carcass was still inside her ear. The physician proceeded to make an ENT emergency appointment for Holley, since there might be more pieces left out of her reach.

Later the same day, the ENT extracted more pieces from Holley's ear: the head, upper torso, other legs, and the antennae among them.

More Common Story Than You Think

As the doctor told Holley, insects inside the ear is a more common experience than one would think.

A study published in the South African Medical Journal revealed that the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town removed 23 insects from patients' ears in just a two-year period.

In 2017, doctors even found a live cockroach inside a woman's brain, having crawled there through the nose.

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