Man Shocked to Find Missing AirPod Lodged in His Esophagus

A 38-year-old man is warning other AirPod users about the danger of swallowing the wireless ear buds, after accidentally ingesting one in his sleep, and undergoing surgery to have it removed.

Last Tuesday morning, after waking up in his home in Worcester, Massachusetts, Brad Gauthier noticed that one of his AirPods was missing. He had fallen asleep with them on, but he didn’t think much of the loss, as AirPods falling off isn’t exactly unheard of. Gauthier reportedly went about his day as usual, ignoring the slight discomfort in his chest, but when he tried to drink a glass of water, something strange happened.

As Brad Gauthier tried to have a drink of water, his throat simply filled up and he started chocking. He was able to get the water out by leaning forward, and carried on as if nothing had happened, even clearing his driveway of snow, after a severe blizzard. But the though of the missing AirPod started bugging him again, especially since he couldn’t find it, even with the help of his wife and son.

Photo: DrNickStafford/Pixabay

“By that point, my son and wife . . . brought it up jokingly at first, but it seemed too coincidental that I would be missing it when I knew I went to bed with it, while I felt a distinct blockage in the center of my chest,” Gauthier told 22 News.

Brad and his wife laughed about the idea of him accidentally swallowing the wireless ear bud, but the more he thought about it, the more plausible that explanation became. It explained the sudden discomfort in his chest and the way he had choked on a drink of water earlier in the day. After messing around for about 10 minutes thinking about it, he decided that going to the hospital was a good idea.

“They were all jaws a slack, looking at this x-ray, on the screen where you could see it in such clear definition. Fortunately, she was able to get me right through an endoscopy center they’re affiliated with,” the 38-year-old told Caters News.


Doctors did warn the man that the procedure involved a risk of the AirPod getting dislodged and then enter his stomach or his lung passageway. Luckily, that didn’t happen, and Brad was able to go home after the procedure.

“I’m really lucky things happened the way they did and got it resolved so quickly, along with it being wedged in the position that it was,” Brad Gauthier said. “Had I inhaled it or it had gotten lodged or constricted my airway that could have certainly been a significantly more serious matter.”

Interestingly, it’s built-in speaker is still functional, but the microphone was damaged during its unusual trip.

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