Earwigs can be spotted easily by recognizing the large pinchers on their rear. They use these forceps to hold females while mating as well as for capturing prey. Earwigs, as opposed to popular belief, do not enter the ears of humans. It is uncertain how this rumor started but it may have been due to their fan or ear-shaped hind wing. Earwigs have also been rumored to have medicinal value. In the past it was thought that "oil of earwig" mixed with urine from a hare was a good treatment for deafness when inserted in to the ear.
Source: M. Berenbaum 1995. Bugs in the System 166.