Ear Itching Problem Identified as Mite Infestation

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  • A man’s ear itching problem led doctors to find mites in his ear.

    The 70-year-old man in Taiwan reported feeling a sense of fullness in his ear without any hearing lost or discharge.

    Doctors discovered mite eggs and mites crawling in his ear canal. The medical report identified the insects as house-dust mites known as Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus.

    Dr. Ian Stoper, the director of ontology at the New York Head and Neck Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital, classified the rare mite condition as otoacariasis.

    "It's much more common to see a cockroach in the ear," Storper said. He added that in many of those cases, cockroaches are already dead in their ear. However, Dr. Stoper said that he’s only seen two cases involving mites.

    Dr. Stoper reported that insects become stuck in the ear as a result of their inability to walk backward. When the insects are alive, patient symptoms include hearing buzzing sounds in addition to pain.

    Doctors recorded a video of the Taiwanese man’s ear showing swollen ear tissue and debris in his ear canal.

    Dr. Richard Nelson, vice chair of emergency medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said that after seeing cases of mosquitos, gnats, and other insects in a patient’s ear he finds it is easier to tell them after the insects have been removed.

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