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Something Horrifying Got Stuck In A Woman's Ear For Nine Days


Rachel Baxter

Copy Editor & Staff Writer


Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Shutterstock

A cockroach crawled into a woman’s ear and got stuck. Yup, you heard that right. And it took doctors nine days to remove all of it.

Katie Holley, the woman who suffered the ordeal, describes the experience in gruesome detail in an essay to SELF. She had recently moved to Florida and noticed the abundance of cockroaches – otherwise known as palmetto bugs – that thrive there due to the warm climate. Little did she know one would take a fancy to the climate of her earhole.


Awoken in the middle of the night by a strange sensation, Katie hurried to the bathroom.

“It felt like someone had placed a chip of ice in my left earhole – but it was something way worse,” she wrote.

She gently inserted a Q-tip into her ear and then removed it again. To her horror, stuck to the end were thin black pieces of something.

“Moments later, I came to the realization that they were legs. LEGS. Legs that could only belong to an adventurous palmetto bug exploring my ear canal.”

Ouch. 7th Son Studio/Shutterstock


Clutching a pair of tweezers, Katie’s husband tried to extract the roach, but only managed to remove two of its legs. The couple then headed to the emergency room.

After various Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley'physicians peeked inside her ear to confirm there was indeed a cockroach in there, a doctor applied some Lidocaine, which is a numbing agent. As well as working as an anesthetic, this successfully killed the cockroach. The insect was then removed using large, curved tweezers, and Katie was sent home with antibiotics.




However, the discomfort in her ear persisted.

About a week later, she visited her doctor who took a look inside her ear. The doctor thought she was simply suffering from a wax build up, so flushed out the painful ear. She peered inside once more, only to find a spikey leg. The leg was removed and the ear flushed again. This time the doctor removed six more pieces of the cockroach. Six. But the story doesn’t end there.

Suspecting there to be even more cockroach lodged in Katie’s ear, the doctor made her an emergency ENT appointment for the same day.

“Once I got situated in the fancy chair in his office later that day, the ENT placed some sort of microscope beside my ear,” Katie wrote. “He didn’t say much, but he did confirm there was still ‘something in there.’”


You would assume the ENT doctor only had to remove the tiniest, microscopic parts of the cockroach that the previous physicians hadn’t been able to get at. But no. He removed more legs, the upper torso, the head, and the antennae. All of which had been embedded in Katie’s ear for nine whole days.

You might think this is some horrible rare event, but the ENT calmly told Katie that he actually extracts insects from people’s ears about once a month, and cockroaches looking for a cozy hiding place appear to be the biggest culprits.  

While an insect crawling into your ear is not life-threatening, we reckon investing in some earplugs is a pretty good idea.


healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • ear,

  • insect,

  • cockroach,

  • ENT,

  • palmetto bug