Cite this write-up as:Jeong H, Shin J, Kim C (May 03, 2021) Earwig Crawling in the Ear: legend or Truth. 13(5): e14827. Doi:10.7759/

A 24-year-old male presented to our outpatient clinic through the left tinnitus and also otalgia, which had actually awakened him early in the morning. Otoendoscopic examination revealed an earwig crawling in the outside auditory canal. The earwig was very closely taken out v ear forceps. The tympanic membrane and external hear canal were typical without traumatic lesions, and audiometric trial and error revealed normal hearing. Earwigs are insects that the bespeak Dermaptera, and the surname "earwig" originated from an old superstition the earwigs burrow v the outside auditory canal and eat sleeping persons’ brains. Return this superstition turned the end to be unfounded, the earwigs sometimes do get in the ear.

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There has been an old superstition that earwigs might crawl into the human being ears and lay their eggs. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines an earwig as “any of countless insects (order Dermaptera) having slender many-jointed antennae and also a pair that cerci the same, similar thing forceps at the end of the body” <1>. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that the name “earwig” is acquired from the Anglo-Saxon word definition “ear creature,” probably due to the fact that of a widespread old superstition that earwigs crawl right into the ears of sleeping world <2>. Back the above-mentioned superstition about earwigs has actually been found to it is in groundless in the modern world, the current study reports a situation of the crawling earwig in the ear that a 24-year-old man.

A 24-year-old guy presented to the outpatient clinic through the left tinnitus and also severe otalgia, which had awakened him early in the morning. The was really agitated and reported the a pest seemed to go into into his left ear. Otoendoscopic examination revealed an earwig crawling in the exterior auditory canal (Figure 1, Supplemental video 1). A excellent illumination to be flashed to lure the insect the end of the ear, however it preserved crawling in his outside auditory canal. So, the earwig was closely taken out with ear forceps. After taking out the earwig, the ear symptoms were relieved. One otoendoscopic examination verified the typical tympanic membrane and external listening canal. A pure tone audiometry and tympanometry revealed no abnormality.


The earwig is a nocturnal creature and generally herbivorous <2,3>. The earwigs prefer living in moist and musty places, and also are known to sometimes creep into houses being attracted to light. The dimension varies native 5 to 50 mm in length, and an external covering is shiny and dark-colored. It has actually a pair that horny plier-like tail filaments at the posterior end of the abdomen, i m sorry is suspect to offer some function in mating and defensive action.

There is no consensus on the etymology the the earwig. Due to a long-standing european superstition that earwigs burrow into human brains with the ear canals of resting people, the name, earwig, is derived from the Old English ēare, which way "ear," and wicga, which means "insect," or, literally, “beetle” <4>. Return this old superstition is no longer thought to be a fact in the modern world, there have actually been anecdotal reports that earwigs may climb into the ear <5,6>. However, there has actually been no report demonstrating an earwig crawling in ~ the ear canal.

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Considering that clinicians meet countless patients who have insects in their ear at the clinic, the present instance may no be the of a rare case. However, the present study aimed to to mark the old superstition around earwigs, which is, come the best of ours knowledge, the very first study that shows video demonstration of one earwig crawling in the person ear. 

Although an ancient myth the earwigs burrow v the exterior auditory canal and eat resting persons’ brain is taken into consideration unfounded, this bugs sometimes do enter the ear, causing severe ear discomfort.