Man swallows AirPod while sleeping, does not realize it

U.S. and World

Harlingen, Texas (KVEO) – A Massachusetts man is lucky to be breathing today after accidentally swallowing one of his AirPods. 

Bradford Gauthier woke up Tuesday morning and noticed he had a little trouble swallowing. He attributed it to a dry or sore throat and carried on with his day.  

The day before he had been shoveling snow for two hours after the Nor’ester that hit Massachusetts earlier this week; he says he went to sleep that night ‘worn out.’  

“I went back out in the morning and shoveled [snow] for an hour. When I came in, I tried to drink a glass of water again and couldn’t,” said Gauthier.  

At this point, Gauthier also noticed that one of his Air Pods was missing. The father of two says he sleeps with them almost every day, as to not disturb his sleeping six-month-old.  

His family began putting the clues together.  

“By that point, my son and wife had gotten the idea that I may have swallowed it. They 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,” explained Gauthier.  

After contemplating the idea for a few minutes, Gauthier went to the emergency room and much to the doctor’s surprise, an x-ray showed his missing AirPod lodged in his esophagus.  

Credit: Bradford Gauthier

An emergency endoscopy removed the AirPod and Gauthier went home to catch up on his work, having never experienced more than some minor discomfort.  

“The GI physician said it’s extremely uncommon for a blockage not to be painful or severely discomforting,” he said. “It never occurred to me that [sleeping with headphones] could be a safety hazard. I was really quite lucky.” 

Credit: Bradford Gauthier

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