Man Accidentally Swallows AirPod During Sleep, Still Works After Being ‘Retrieved’

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 22 Jun 2021

airpods xray

Back in February, Bradford Gauthier shared his story of how he ‘accidentally’ swallowed an AirPod during his sleep. The man from Massachusetts has now shared more on this, revealing how the AirPods were retrieved, and how happy he was to find them working when he got them back.

AirPods are small, tiny-little earphones and due to their small size, it’s very easy to misplace them. Bradford Gauthier shared his story with The Guardian revealing how he accidentally swallowed an AirPod while sleeping.

Bradford says that he has a habit of watching a movie before he goes to sleep. One night in February, he started watching the movie The Thing. 

“Within 10 minutes of the opening credits, I could barely keep my eyes open. The next thing I knew, four hours had passed, my wife, Heather, was asleep beside me and the movie had long finished. Groggily, I moved my phone off the pillow and removed the wireless AirPod headphone from one ear – the other had fallen out and I couldn’t find it.”

The next day, when he woke up, he found something wrong. He said that he found his throat congested, and he wasn’t able to swallow anything. “I padded to the bathroom for a sip of water, but couldn’t swallow properly. My throat filled with water, but it wouldn’t go down – I had to lean over the sink and let the water drain out,” he said.

During clearing snow from in front of his house, he asked his son if he had seen his AirPod. To this, he replied, “perhaps you swallowed it in your sleep?” After laughing about the comment for a brief, Bradford seriously considered a doctor consultation.

“At the walk-in centre, the receptionist asked for my symptoms. My response was met with a bemused look and the doctor who examined me was incredulous. She said people with an object lodged in their throat usually experience a lot of pain, plus it seemed unlikely that I could have inadvertently swallowed a piece of plastic an inch and a half long. I was left on my own as she went to examine the results of a precautionary X-ray.

The doctor’s expression when she returned was priceless. “Well, I’ll be damned,” she said. She led me to her workstation, which was surrounded by medical staff. On the screen was a cartoon-clear image of my ribs and, parked between them at 45 degrees, the unmistakable shape of the missing AirPod.”

The AirPod seemed to be stuck in his esophagus. The doctor said that if it was ingested, it could’ve lodged in his intestines, which would have meant surgery. Thankfully, the doctors were able to remove the AirPod “naturally” using a “lasso attachment.”

“Heather drove me to the endoscopy centre, where the AirPod was got back out via my mouth using a tube with a lasso attachment. It was extremely uncomfortable, but I was sedated and so only half awake. A few minutes later, I was given the AirPod in a neat little bag.”

After returning to his house, Bradford checked if the AirPod were in working condition. And to his surprise, the AirPods were still working.

“It works fine, although the microphone is less reliable than it was. I’ll never know for certain how I managed to swallow it; my theory is that it dropped on to the pillow, ended up next to my mouth and got sucked in when I yawned. In retrospect, I’m glad the “find my AirPod” attempt didn’t work – I would have freaked out if my throat had beeped.”

Do you sleep with your AirPods on? Let us know in the comments below.