Foreign body – tick in ear

Foreign body – tick in ear

A 63-year-old male veteran presents to the VA with concerns for painless decreased hearing in one ear. This image is obtained.


The veteran has a tick attached in his external auditory canal


On initial exam, the pathology shown in the image was unclear. Otolaryngology (ENT) was e-consulted with this image and thought it might be a polyp. Exploring the lesion was considered but quickly discarded. A consultation appointment with ENT was made for the veteran.

The veteran returned to the VA about a week later for a different issue. At that visit, he reported to medical staff that a fully engorged tick had crawled out of his ear the prior day.

On re-evaluation of the image, it clearly shows congealed blood adjacent to the “polyp” consistent with a tick attachment. Here is a video of the exam with the tick present.


Video of tick attached in the external ear canal