An AirPods owner recently found out they had swallowed one of the earbuds after falling asleep while wearing them. It’s not an isolated incident.
Bradford Gauthier reportedly only realized he had swallowed an Apple AirPod after a trip to the emergency room. This is not the only case of someone swallowing an AirPod that’s been reported on recently, although in this case, the owner of the AirPod was not doing anything different to what many other owners likely do each night.
AirPods are a hugely popular option when it comes to true wireless earbuds. Compared to normal wireless earbuds, and even more so wired, true wireless earbuds provide the ultimate freedom. Of course, the design does come with some problems and limitations, such as the reliability and consistency of the connection, as well as the increased likelihood of losing one and not finding it again. In rarer cases, there’s also the possibility of swallowing one.
As explained to WWLP in Massachusetts, local resident Bradford Gauthier swallowed an AirPod after falling asleep with the earbuds still in his ears. The owner only became fully aware of what had happened after being unable to drink a glass of water and taking a trip to the emergency room. While there, the AirPod was revealed to be the cause of the problem when it could be seen in an x-ray, lodged in Gauthier’s esophagus. Once identified, an emergency endoscopy was performed to remove the AirPod again.
Not An Isolated AirPods Incident
Swallowing an AirPod doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. For example, a seven-year-old was found to have swallowed one in 2020. However, unlike in this instance, the child had placed the AirPod in their mouth before it was accidentally swallowed, according to Business Insider. In contrast, Gauthier simply went to bed with the AirPods in. Something that many owners likely do each night. In fact, there’s even a number of ‘sleep better’ iPhone apps that are further likely to encourage the use of AirPods while in bed and falling asleep. Not to mention, there are even buds sold specifically for use when sleeping.
As unusual as this case is, it is not the only time a situation like this has been reported on. Back in 2019, the Daily Mail reported how an AirPod owner in Taiwan encountered an almost identical problem. Just like with Gauthier, the owner explained how they went to sleep with the AirPods in place, only to wake up and find one was missing. The AirPod was discovered to have been swallowed using the iPhone’s ‘Find My’ tracking feature and a trip to the local hospital for confirmation. However, unlike Gauthier’s situation, no emergency procedures were needed with the AirPod eventually passing through the system. Reportedly, it still worked fine afterwards as well.
Back in 2017, a Redditor posted another similar account. Although the AirPod was not swallowed on this occasion, the user had gone to sleep with them in the ears and woke up to find one of the earbuds was in their mouth. While these incidents are infrequent, they do act as a reminder of the need for safety when using products as small as an earbud. This even includes when falling asleep with Apple’s AirPods, or any other true wireless earbuds, in place.
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