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Insect in Ear Removal: How to Do it Safely and Effectively

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Kristel Lagorza · Updated May 28, 2023

Insect in Ear Removal: How to Do it Safely and Effectively

There are cases when an insect may fly or crawl into your ear. This usually occurs when you are sleeping. An insect in your ear can cause different types of discomfort ranging from simple irritation to possible ear complications. Here’s what you can do to safely remove the insect in the ear and how to avoid problems. 

What to Do: Insect in Ear

It’s easier to feel if there’s a foreign object stuck in your ear due to how sensitive your ear canal is. In cases of an insect stuck in your ear, you may experience minimal symptoms like hearing a buzzing noise or feeling uncomfortable. An insect can also bite or sting your ear. So as soon as you experience these, it’s important to deal with these pesky pests as safely as possible. 

What you can do

When you know you have an insect in your ear, do not put or push your finger in your ear. Doing this can possibly cause the insect to bite or sting you. Additionally, it may push the insect farther into the canal, which becomes more problematic.  

Use Oil

If you have a live insect in ear, you can pour few drops of oil into your ear to suffocate the insect. However, avoid doing this method if you are experiencing pain, discharge, or bleeding. The latter may be a possible symptom of a perforated eardrum.

Remove using a tweezer

Only try to remove an insect using a tweezer if the insect is visible or easily removable. Use a tweezer to gently pull it out. Be careful to not perforate your eardrum. 

Turn the head

Turning the head with the affected ear face up will help coax the insect out. If this is ineffective, try to flush it using oil. 

Gently wiggling the ear pinna

 The ear pinna is the outer circular part of your ear closest to your head. Position your affected ear down and gently move your ear pinna. If it is not a live insect and is not stuck, the insect or object may fall out.

What to Avoid

Do not use a cotton swab

Using a cotton swab to reach or remove foreign objects will increase the chances of perforating or damaging your eardrum. Using this or other tools may just push it farther. 

Do not block discharge

When discharge occurs in your ear, it is best to use soft wipes or tissues to gently wipe away the fluids from the outer canal.

Do not push your finger in your ear

Pushing your finger into your ear may cause you to be stung or bitten by the insect if it is alive. In addition, your finger may inadvertently push the insect in ear farther into the canal. 

Do not attempt to remove the insect if it’s not visible

In this case, it’s better to contact a doctor. If the insect in ear is not visible and you use force to remove it, you may risk complications. 

insect in ear

Risks and Complications

Due to the ear’s sensitivity, there could be repercussions if you are unable to safely remove the insect from your ear or other foreign objects. An infection may occur or misuse of tools may cause damage to your ear canal or eardrums. 

When to Seek Medical Help

It’s always better to seek medical help to ensure you aren’t risking complications. Medical professionals are better equipped to deal with these situations. Take note of the following scenarios.

Pain, discharge, or bleeding

If you are experiencing these symptoms, immediately contact your doctor so they can examine your ear. These symptoms are possibly caused by eardrum or ear canal damage. 

The insect does not come out

If the insect in ear does not come out or is not visible, seek medical assistance. Doctors are better equipped with tools to remove the pest. 

Doctors will usually prescribe otic antibiotic drops after foreign body (insect) removal to prevent the onset or progression of infection.

The oil stays in the ear

If the insect is still in your ear after trying to flush it out, seek help from your doctor to remove both the insect and the oil. 

Key Takeaways

If the insect is not lodged in the ear and it can be removed safely using tweezers or oil, you may attempt to remove it. However, to avoid further complications due to the ear canal’s sensitivity,  it is still best to seek a doctor’s help as they have the proper tools and expertise to manage the situation.

Learn more about Ear Conditions here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Kristel Lagorza · Updated May 28, 2023

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