Call it the moth-er of all headaches.
A Scottish woman who heard buzzing sounds in her head is said to be horrified after discovering a moth had taken up residence inside her ear for four days.
According to the Edinburgh Evening News, Patricia MacLeod thought she was suffering from tinnitus after enduring hours of fluttering at bedtime.
“The noise started about midnight, just as I was dozing off,” she told the paper. “It was very loud, like a motorbike, and there was a lot of fluttering. I have never had tinnitus, but I’ve heard people talk about it and it was just like that.”
The next morning, the Midlothian woman rushed to the doctor, who initially thought the problem was caused by an excess of wax.
But when a nurse syringed Patricia’s ear four days later, the body of a moth oozed out.
“The nurse said she had never seen anything like that,” Mrs. MacLeod told the News. “It was small, but I have no idea how it got in. We sleep with the window open and when you put the light on they come into the room.”
Her husband, Graham, told the paper he may have a clue: “There’s a lovely tree just outside the window and the moths go under the leaves to sleep. We’ve now put up netting to stop them getting into the house.”
Graham MacLeod now has netting to keep moths out (courtesy: Edinburgh Evening News)
At the height of the mystery, Graham says both he and Patricia were at their wit’s end trying to figure out the problem.
“The noise was driving her crazy,” he told the paper. “It was quite frightening, I looked in her ear and could see nothing. It went on for more than four hours then the thing must have died.”
Patricia has since recovered from last month’s ordeal, and is now able to joke about it, according to the report.
“It’s funny now, but it wasn’t at the time,” she said.
The whole scenario is somewhat surprising to experts on moths.
“People always talk about how earwigs got their names, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting a moth in their ear,” Paul Kirkland, head of conservation with Butterfly Conservation Scotland, told the News.
But he did acknowledge some were small enough to fit inside someone’s ear canal.
“There is such a thing as a wax moth which is very small. They live off the wax in bee hives,” he said.
A hospital spokesman says cases of insects like spiders or flies in ears are rare, but they have occurred, and usually can be removed by cleansing the ear at a doctor’s office.