Background: Animate foreign bodies in the ear are frequent occurrences in otology practice. Such foreign bodies may lead to hazardous complications. Method: This paper describes a retrospective study of six patients with a recent history of an insect in the ear who presented with various complications following intervention received elsewhere. Results: An insect was retrieved from the external auditory canal in four cases and from the antrum in two cases. The patients presented with progressive otological complications: two patients who presented with orbital apex syndrome and cavernous sinus thrombosis succumbed to the disease; three patients suffered sensorineural hearing loss; and two patients had persistent facial palsy. One patient with sigmoid sinus thrombosis, who presented early, experienced complete recovery. Conclusion: Insects in the ear can lead to hazardous complications. Animate foreign bodies should preferably be managed by a trained otologist, even in an emergency setting. Patients with delayed presentation and complications have a guarded prognosis.
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