According to a story published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an unnamed boy needed an operation because there was a tick in his eardrum. However, the little boy had not been complaining of any particular pain.
His eardrum had become inhabited
When he told his parents that he could hear a humming noise in his right ear, they started to worry and they immediately took their son to see Dr Erik Waldman, Chief of Paediatric Otolaryngology at New Haven Hospital. The doctor then made the astonishing discovery that was a tick stuck in the boy’s eardrum, which had started to show signs of inflammation.
It was impossible to remove the tick without surgery since the insect had buried itself in the child’s ear pretty well. When the doctor examined the boy, however, the tick was no longer alive but had nevertheless caused inflammation that required antibiotics in order to prevent infection.
Dr David Kasle, the resident otolaryngologist at Yale New Haven Hospital who treated the boy, was shocked by the strange find. He said he had never seen anything like it before but that it does explain why the boy was hearing the buzzing sound.
Essentially, the closer any sound gets to the eardrum, the louder it’s going to be [heard] by the patient. As the bug got closer and closer, [the boy] probably heard it louder and louder.
They operated on the child and the doctors successfully removed the tick. They used a small instrument shaped like a hook that was capable of pulling out the dead tick. After the operation, they examined it and discovered that it was a specimen of Dermacentor variabilis, a type of tick that is mainly found in the USA and usually on dogs.
A month later, the boy had recovered from the ordeal and had luckily suffered no damage to his eardrum. Fortunately, the boy did not get Lyme disease either. Lyme disease is not very common in the UK but it is estimated that there are around 2,000 to 3,000 new cases every year.