Man discovers he has swallowed $129 AirPod in his sleep - with no idea how

Brad Gauthier under went an emergency endoscopy after x-rays showed he had swallowed an AirPod in his sleep

Alice Hutton
Tuesday 09 February 2021 19:57
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<p>X-rays, pictured from Facebook, showed Brad Gauthier had swallowed an AirPod in his sleep.</p>

X-rays, pictured from Facebook, showed Brad Gauthier had swallowed an AirPod in his sleep.

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A man from Massachusetts has warned AirPod users not to wear them when they sleep after he swallowed one overnight - and has no idea how it happened. 

Brad Gauthier, 38, woke up struggling to breathe last Tuesday and choked on a glass of water. 

Despite a strange sensation in his chest the real estate title examiner from the city of Worcester carried as normal and shovelled snow from his drive-way following a blizzard.

But when he went back inside he noticed that one of his $129 wireless Apple headphones was missing and his wife Heather joked that he had swallowed it.

"We laughed about it, but something just clicked and I got a weird sinking feeling that I'd swallowed it in my sleep," he told Mail Online. 

He added: "At that point, I putzed around for another 10 minutes thinking about it but we all determined it'd be better safer than sorry to go to hospital."

Hospital staff first suggested it was heartburn caused by food from his wife’s birthday party the night before. 

But following x-rays, shocked doctors discovered that the culprit was indeed one of the pods, around two inches long, and wedged firmly inside his throat for nearly 24-hours. 

'They were all jaws aslack, looking at this x-ray, on the screen where you could see it in such clear definition,' Gauthier said.

Doctors performed an emergency endoscopy, using a long, thin tube to remove it from his oesophagus, leaving Mr Gauthier no worse for wear, but the microphone in the pod now broken.

He believes it must have fallen out his ear and into his mouth during the night with nurses warning that he was lucky not to have suffered serious damage. 

“Had I inhaled it or it had gotten lodged or constricted my airway that could have certainly been a significantly more serious matter,” Gauthier said.

“You don't have a lot of runway if you obstruct your breathing and something happens, who would even think that's what it was if you wake up to something like that. I'm really lucky things happened the way they did.”

Posting photos of the x-ray on Facebook, the father called it “one for the record books” and warned AirPod users: “Be careful listening to wireless headphones when you fall asleep, you never know where they'll end up!”

The mishap may sound like a freak accident but is increasingly common. 

In January last year, a 7-year-old boy from Georgia in the US swallowed one and had to wait for it to pass, after it made it into his stomach.

And in 2019 a man in Taiwan had a similar accident, though his AirPod still miraculously worked after making its reappearance.

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