Man Accidentally Swallows Wireless Earbud

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. discomfort / dɪsˈkʌm fərt / (n) – an uncomfortable or slightly painful feeling in the body

    He experiences discomfort in his back after long hours of driving.

  2. sip / sɪp / (n) – a small amount of drink taken into the mouth

    She had a sip of green tea.

  3. esophagus / ɪˈsɒf ə gəs / (n) – a part of the body shaped like a tube where food goes through from the mouth to the stomach

    He swallowed a large seed, and now it’s stuck in his esophagus.

  4. speculation / ˌspɛk yəˈleɪ ʃən / (n) – an idea or guess about something unknown

    There are speculations that he might run for president in the next election.

  5. lodge / lɒdʒ / (v) – to become stuck in a specific place or position

    After the gunfight, the man had a bullet lodged in his skull.


Read the text below.

A man underwent surgery after swallowing an Apple AirPod while sleeping.

One morning last February, Brad Gauthier [GOTH-eer], a resident of Massachusetts, reported that he woke up with minor discomfort in his chest. Gauthier then shoveled snow in the family’s driveway for almost an hour. After he was done shoveling, he returned to the house to take a sip of water and found out that the water would not fully go down his esophagus.

That same day, Gauthier discovered that one of his AirPods was missing. After Gauthier and his family looked for the missing AirPod and failed to find it, Gauthier’s son speculated that his father might have swallowed the earbud since he often leaves them on even while asleep.

To confirm the speculation, Gauthier went to an emergency clinic and had an x-ray, which showed that one of his earbuds was indeed stuck in his lower esophagus. The doctors then retrieved the earbud from his throat.

The AirPod had been lodged in Gauthier’s throat for a few hours. Surprisingly, the earbud still works and only suffered minor damage to the microphone.

Gauthier explained that he had stopped watching TV in the bedroom that he shares with his wife and 6-month-old baby and started watching Netflix using his earbuds instead.

Following the incident, Gauthier warned everyone to be careful using wireless earbuds at night, especially when they are about to sleep.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the incident will discourage people from using wireless earbuds before falling asleep? Why or why not?
• Do you think earbud manufacturers should do something to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think it’s a good idea to use electronic devices before sleeping? Why or why not?
• Do you think electronic devices should have features that prevent users from falling asleep while using them? Why or why not?