A BOY almost lost his hearing after a tick burrowed into his eardrum.
The nine-year-old went to his doctor after hearing a strange buzzing noise, which turned out to be a parasite nestling his earwax.
New England Journal of Medicine Docs found a tick buried into the boy’s eardrum
Docs believe that it was attracted by the wax, crawling down the ear hairs and then perforating the eardrum.
The boy, who lives in the USA, didn’t have any pain or loss of hearing at the time, so the only sign that something was up was the buzzing noise that persisted for several days.
And when his GP went to investigate, he found a massive creepy-crawly buried into the eardrum.The perfect environment
Our ear canals are perfect breeding grounds for ticks because they’re warm, moist and protected.
It’s believed that the boy probably picked it up while playing outside.
There are over 900 species of ticks, and this particular one is known as an American dog tick.
Common in the US, they bite down into the skin of the host animal, holding on tight as the suck their blood.
While most insects can be gotten rid of easily, this type of tick can’t just be yanked off – because its mouthpiece hold in place.
Risking hearing loss
According to the two medics working on the boy’s case, they tried to pluck the tick out of his ear in their office, but it didn’t work.
“Removal of the tick with guidance from an operative microscope was attempted in the office, but the tick could not be removed,” they reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Thankfully, they didn’t try that hard.
The eardrum is an incredibly sensitive part of the body and had they ripped out the tick, that may have risked tearing the membrane – causing the boy excruciating pain and possibly risking his hearing.
But they also couldn’t risk leaving the tick there, sucking on the boy’s blood.
So, they prepped him for surgery, put him to sleep and used some fine utensils to remove the bug.
The boy came out of the op completely healthy and with a perfectly intact eardrum.
This isn’t the first case of a tick getting into a body part.
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In 2011, a 28-year-old naval officer came back from camping in a national park, reporting increased irritation in his left eye, along with a “tearing” sensation.
It turned out that a tick had buried its way into his eyeball, which surgeons had to remove.
They reported pulling the bug out of the conjunctiva “with a little pop, like a cork coming out of a bottle”.
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