Tick in man's ear gives him tinnitus

September 21, 2012 by Randy Dotinga, Healthday Reporter
Tick in man's ear gives him tinnitus
European report tells tale of insect attached to eardrum.

(HealthDay)—When a 63-year-old man went to a hospital in Switzerland to report a buzzing in his ear, the staff got more than they bargained for when they looked inside. A tick was attached to his eardrum, and it possibly got there with the help of a friendly feline.

The man is fine now that the has been removed, according to a brief report in the Sept. 20 issue of the . While it's uncommon for ticks to make their way into the , emergency physicians say insects do make appearances in this fragile orifice.

"Insects in the ear are relatively common so this case is not very surprising," said Dr. Donald Keamy Jr., a pediatric otolaryngologist—ear, nose and throat doctor—at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. "A case report like this is likely one of many other cases that were not reported."

The report said the man visited a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, while suffering from itching and "bubbling tinnitus," a kind of buzzing, in the ear. "Technically, this is not the typical high-pitched noise that is heard by patients with hearing loss," said Keamy, who was not involved with the case.

An evaluation of his right ear revealed that a tick had attached itself to the . The tick had probably caused the buzzing sound through its contact with the eardrum, Keamy explained.

The tick species is a type that's often found on cats in Europe.

The hospital removed the tick by numbing the man's ear and then using a to suck it out. The tick can spread , but tests later revealed that the man didn't get infected; he recovered without further problems.

How did a tick manage to get in the man's ear in the first place? "On review," the report stated, "the patient remembered having had close contact with his domestic cat the evening before the symptoms began."

Keamy said the tick could have bitten the man inside his ear, but probably wouldn't have caused .

Dr. Michael Lanigan, an attending physician in emergency medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, offered this advice for people who live in or visit places where ticks live: "The best way to prevent tick-borne disease is to check yourself and others—particularly your children—for ticks frequently."

Keamy added that it's smart to wear long-sleeved clothing while you're in wooded areas where ticks live. Treating your dog or cat to keep ticks at bay is another good idea, he said. "If you believe you have had a tick bite," he said, "see your primary care physician to discuss possible antibiotic treatment."

Explore further: Tick season starting early this year

More information: For more on tick bites, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


Related Stories

Tick season starting early this year

April 23, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Tick season has started earlier than normal due to the mild winter, which means hikers, gardeners and others who love the outdoors should take precautions to prevent becoming a meal for ticks, an expert says.

New tick-borne disease discovered

September 20, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Yale School of Public Health researchers in collaboration with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne bacterium that might be causing disease in the United States and elsewhere. Their findings ...

Precautions for tick-borne disease extend "beyond lyme"

September 7, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—This year's mild winter and early spring were a bonanza for tick populations in the eastern United States. Reports of tick-borne disease rose fast.

Recommended for you

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Zika virus damages placenta, which may explain malformed babies

January 18, 2018
Though the Zika virus is widely known for a recent outbreak that caused children to be born with microencephaly, or having a small head, and other malformations, scientists have struggled to explain how the virus affects ...

Certain flu virus mutations may compensate for fitness costs of other mutations

January 18, 2018
Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research published in PLOS Pathogens, certain mutations ...

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.