'Scratching' Sounds In Woman's Ear Caused By Web-Spinning Spider

Li Meng says she feared she had been "possessed by evil spirits."

When Li Meng started hearing "scratching" noises, she thought she might be sick or that she’d been “possessed by evil spirits.” However, when she finally went to the hospital, the doctor discovered something unexpected in her ear: a spider had been living there.

According to Chinese news outlet TaiHaiNet.com, the spider may have embedded into Li’s ear when the 25-year-old went for a hike with her boyfriend. After returning home that night, Li says she began hearing a strange scratching sound that was occasionally accompanied by a sharp pain in her ear.

Li says she believed that she may have been "cursed" by evil spirits. According to Central European News, she "even went to a temple" to pray for the spirits to leave her.

Li also took painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain, but none of the remedies seemed to work.

About a week after the hike, Li visited Dr. Chen Zhao Ye, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Xiamen Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. During the examination, Chen discovered a spider living inside Li’s troubled ear. According to TaiHaiNet.com, the arachnid had even been weaving a web inside the ear cavity.

Removing the spider was reportedly a difficult and painful ordeal as the doctor's attempts caused it to react violently. Chen was only able to complete the task after subduing the spider with some anesthesia.

Critters burrowing into human ears is (unfortunately) not an uncommon occurrence. In 2014, writer Annie Stoltie wrote, in excruciating detail, about the time a beetle got stuck in her ear while she was camping in the Adirondack Mountains with her family.

"I’ve given birth twice; as a kid I snapped my ankle in half and had an ice-skate blade slice my chin open -- things that hurt a lot. But this pain was a full-body shock from my toes to my temples; with every stab I saw a flash of light," she wrote in Slate.com.

After Stoltie’s doctors finally got the beetle out days later, she received some advice from an otolaryngologist. He said that “if this were to happen again -- what are the chances? -- I fill my ear with oil (baby, mineral, vegetable, olive) to smother and kill the bug,” Stoltie wrote. “No oil? Water or a 50/50 mixture of water and alcohol or water and peroxide would work. Sometimes you can grab the bug with tweezers, he said, but there’s a danger you’ll push it in farther; plus, if you don’t get it all, you’ll need medical attention anyway.”

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has some tips for what to do if you have an object in your ear. Click here to learn more.

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