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168050.  Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:20 am Reply with quote

The hungarian word for earwig is the same as the word for "catchy", as in a catchy song.

Stop me if you start to get bored.

168051.  Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:21 am Reply with quote

The portuguese word for earwig is the same as the word for earwax

168053.  Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:22 am Reply with quote

Presumably those Hopi ear candles have ear wicks?

168056.  Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:25 am Reply with quote

The spanish word for earwig is the same as the word for an overhead kick in footy.

The Ukranian word for earwig is the same as the word for pimp.

Source for all the above (except flash's comment) here

169185.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:09 am Reply with quote

Earwigs and other arthropods definitely have been known to crawl into peoples’ ears. There are a number of documented cases.

Snopes tells of John Hanning Speke, the guy who found the source of the Nile. He fell asleep "covered with a host of small black beetles, evidently attracted by the glimmer of the candle." He was woken by a bug in his ear:

Trying to remove the beetle only pushed it in further. The beetle continued into Speke's ear as far as possible, and then "he began with exceeding vigour like a rabbit in a hole, to dig violently away at my tympanum. The queer sensation this amusing measure excited in me is past description . . . What to do I knew not."

After trying to flush the critter out with melted butter, Speke tried to dig it out with his penknife, succeeding only in killing it and increasing the damage to his ear. Infection followed, distorting his face and causing boils. "For many months the tumour made me almost deaf, and ate a hole between the ear and the nose, so that when I blew it, my ear whistled so audibly that those who heard it laughed. Six or seven months after this accident happened, bits of the beetle — a leg, a wing, or parts of the body — came away in the wax." (Quotes are from Speke's journals, as referred to in Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton by Edward Rice, 1990, Scribner's, New York.)

Straightdope is not to be beaten, it tells of the debate of how to get bugs out of one’s ear. Apparently doctors are split as to whether to use mineral oil or lidocaine.

The value of this was seemingly demonstrated when a patient showed up at a hospital with cockroaches in both ears. (Unanswered question: what was this guy doing?) Recognizing a golden opportunity for a controlled clinical trial, the attending physicians put mineral oil in one ear. "The cockroach succumbed after a valiant but futile struggle, but its removal required much dexterity on the part of the house officer," they wrote. In the other ear the doctors put lidocaine. "The roach exited the canal at a convulsive rate of speed" and was promptly stomped by an intern.

Here are some words for earwig compared to ear:

Danish: oerentvist / řre
Dutch: oorwurm / oor
French: perce-oreille / oreille
German: ohrwurm / ohr
Hungarian: fülbemászó / fül
Portuguese: cerume – same as for earwax
Romanian: urechelniţă / ureche
Russian: уховертка / ухо
Turkish: kulağakaçan / kulak


Here is an article in the Journal of Western Medicine talking of an earwig in someone's ear.

169217.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:40 am Reply with quote

Earwigs and other arthropods definitely have been known to crawl into peoples’ ears. There are a number of documented cases.

I don't suppose anybody would ever doubt that, would they? The mythical part is what they do when they get there - there is no evidence, as far as I know, that they proceed to lay eggs/nest/eat the brain, which what all the myths are about.

169220.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:45 am Reply with quote

Or even that they have a particular prediliction for the ear in preference to any other orifice. But egg's accounts of occasions when they have ended up in people's ears are definitely the throbbing heart of this generally excellent topic.

169254.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:47 am Reply with quote

Yes Mat, I agree. The point I was making is that etymonline says:

So called from the ancient and widespread (but false) belief that the garden pest went into people's ears.

But the belief isn't false at all.

I think this is also what the OED says, but I don't have a copy.

169291.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:50 am Reply with quote

Oh, in that case, yes indeed - if people have been stupid enough to state that it doesn't happen. How could anyone be that daft? Have they never had a nocturnal spider or small flying insect wriggling around in their ear, nose or mouth?

172904.  Wed May 09, 2007 4:59 am Reply with quote

A nine-year-old in Albany, Oregon, called Jesse Courtney, had earache, following a “faint popping sound” in his ear “like Rice Krispies.” Doctors found that “a pair of spiders had made their home in his ear.” The noise was the spiders walking on his eardrum. It says here. One of the spiders was still alive after being “flushed out.”

I’m not sure what “made their home” means; perhaps it is merely a poetic way of saying they were in there.

S: Western Daily Press, 8 May 07

172922.  Wed May 09, 2007 5:40 am Reply with quote

At least they had central heating.

173082.  Wed May 09, 2007 12:26 pm Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Have they never had a nocturnal spider or small flying insect wriggling around in their ear, nose or mouth?

<raises hand> I haven't that I'm aware of. Of course, now I'm aware of the possibility I shall be paranoid, damn you Mat.

Meanwhile, here's a poem I've just remembered:

I had rather be a woman
Than an earwig
But there's not much in it sometimes.
We both crawl out of bed
But there the likeness ends.
Earwigs don't have to
Feed their children.
Feed the cat.
Feed the rabbit.
Feed the dishwasher.
They don't need
Clean sheets.
Clean clothes.
Clean carpets.
A clean bill of health.
They just rummage about
In chrysanthemums.
No one expects them
To have their
Teetotal, vegetarian
To stay for Christmas.
Or to feel a secret thrill
At the thought of extending the kitchen.
Earwigs can snap their pincers at life
And scurry about being quite irresponsible.
They enjoy an undeserved reputation
Which frightens the boldest child.
Next time I feel hysterical
I'll bite a hole in a dahlia.

Daphne Schiller

178333.  Sun May 27, 2007 11:51 am Reply with quote

New Zealand man lives for two years with an undiagnosed infestation of mites in his ear.

"I had been hearing continual bubble and squeak noises in my ears and it was worse at night. Sometimes I would get up in the morning and think I would be lucky if I had got any sleep.

"And there was movement. That was the worst -- the itch. Many times during the day and night I would stick my fingers and cotton buds in my ears to try and relieve the itch. It was unreachable."



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