Boy’s Strange Buzz In The Ear Turned Out To Be A Tick In His Eardrum

Lifestyle & Health

May 14, 2019 14:38 By Fabiosa

Many insects and arachnids don’t present any danger to people, especially since their “invasions” are considered seasonal. However, some species are carriers of serious diseases, and bites of some can cause strong allergic reactions. One of most unpleasant are probably ticks.

It is a mistake to believe that they can cause harm only in the warm season. Ticks are incredibly stable and can live even in low temperatures. The most common diseases they can transmit are:

  1. Lyme disease – an infectious illness that can involve in the pathological process of connective tissues, organs of vision, nervous system, and joints.
  2. Anaplasmosis – a form of blood lesion.
  3. Ehrlichiosis – a disease that contributes to the formation of infectious granulomas in the liver, bone marrow, and skin.
  4. Tularemia – lymph node intoxication.
  5. Tick-borne viral encephalitis – severe brain disease.

Not all ticks are dangerous, and not every case has disastrous consequences. However, if you have been bitten by a disease carrier, you still may develop an infection, so it is important to remember the risk. In addition, it can sometimes be difficult to detect the bite in time since, due to its small size, it can easily “hide” in skin folds or hard-to-reach places, causing local inflammation and increasing the risk of blood poisoning.

In May 2019, one such similar case was described in the New England Journal of Medicine. A 9-year-old boy was at the doctor's office complaining of a strange buzzing in his right ear. On examination, it turned out that he had a tick tightly lodged in the membrane of the eardrum. It wasn’t immediately possible to remove it: there was a risk of membrane rupture, and the process of extraction could be painful for the boy, including the probability of severe inflammation. The doctors had to perform a delicate operation with general anesthesia. After a course of antibiotic treatment, the boy recovered completely.

Removing any object from the ear is a rather complicated process, not only of a child but also an adult. If you suspect something stuck in the auricle, you should seek professional help.

The following symptoms indicate that it may be a tick:

  • irritation, rash at bite site;
  • itching;
  • buzzing or ticking noise;

In severe cases there may be breathing problems, rash all over the body, headache, nausea, pain in muscles and joints, decreased neck mobility, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and general weakness.

There are several ways to extract a tick, but you can resort to them only when it hasn’t penetrated deeply into the skin.

  1. Grab it with clean tweezers as close to its head as possible perpendicular to the surface of the bite. Then, “unscrew” it in a clockwise direction.
  2. Grab the tick with a looped piece of thread by ​​the tick's proboscis (sucking mouth-part), then slowly and gently pull it upwards.

The bite site must be sterilized. Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after the procedure. If the head still remains on the skin surface, you will see a black dot. It isn’t recommended to remove it by yourself. Even if you got rid of the tick, it is highly desirable to contact an observant doctor for testing and further treatment if necessary.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.