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Commonly called as swimmer’s ear, ear canal infection or external otitis is an inflammatory process affecting the skin of the outer ear canal, which moves along the eardrum to the outside.
In the early course of the disease process, the symptoms are typically mild but may worsen if the infection spreads or if it is left untreated.
In individuals with mild infection, they may experience signs and symptoms including ear canal itching with minor redness, mild discomfort which worsens when the auricle is pulled and the appearance of a clear, odorless drainage.
If the infection is in its moderate progression, the patient may predominantly complain of having a more intense itching with increasing ear pain and more extensive ear redness, extreme fluid drainage, foul smelling yellowish pus and diminished and muffled hearing. When the condition becomes advanced, there is severe pain radiating to the face, neck and sides of the face. Possible causative bacteria are Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus while the Candida albicans and Aspergillus are the most common fungi to blame for this medical condition. Normally, the outer ear canal has a natural defense which helps prevent infection from occurring. If a patient develops ear canal infection, then, the natural defenses in the ear have been overwhelmed. Scratches and abrasions in the ear can be due to cleaning the ear with cotton swab or hair pin, scratching with finger and using headphones and hearing aids.
If otitis externa is in chronic form, the cause might not only because of bacteria but is more likely to be attributed by chronic dermatitis of the ear canal.
It is important to learn the approaches for preventing a person from developing acute external otitis.
The treatment is aimed at ending the disease process and permitting the ear canal to undergo healing process. To begin with, the outer ear canal is cleaned to assist the eardrops to run along the infected areas.
Generally, acute ear canal infection resolves in just a few days after a therapeutic combination of topical wash and antibiotics, however, absolute convalescence of hearing and gland function may take place a little longer.
Whatever the reason for this infection, avoid factors such as moisture and irritation as these extend the course of the disease. This website is for informational purposes only and Is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


There is a temporary conductive hearing loss that will be experienced by a patient who displays enough swelling and ear pus to obstruct the opening of the ear. Other symptoms include complete obstruction of the ear canal, redness and swelling, hyperthermia and swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck making it painful to open the jaw. Factors which can cause weakening of the ears’ protective mechanism and encourage growth of bacteria include excess ear moisture, abrasions in the ear canal and sensitivity reactions from various sources.
Individuals with persistent dermatological conditions, including eczema and psoriasis are more predisposed to developing infections involving the outer auditory canal. But self-cleaning efforts must be avoided as these usually cause additional injury to the traumatized skin area, making the condition worse.
The physician may then remove the discharge, ear wax and other materials and debris periodically and frequently with suction apparatus or ear curette.
The medications may include an acidic solution which re-establishes the normal environment of the ear canal, corticosteroids which lessen inflammation, antibiotic to treat the infection and antifungal drugs if the condition is fungal in origin.
Before it has healed fully, the patient is still more susceptible to develop recurrent infection. The cartilage was normal.Histo-pathology of excised lesion - changes of chronic inflammation.
The causative agent is commonly the bacteria, such as streptococcus, staphylococcus and pseudomonas.
This slightly acidic substance creates a slim, water-repellant coating on the skin and discourages bacterial growth. When sweating becomes heavy, or when humid weather is prolonged or when water remains in the ear after swimming, a favorable setting for bacterial growth is created.
If an individual is likely to develop the disease, earplugs and bathing caps can be given to them before swimming or taking a bath. If necessary, place an earplug or cotton wool soaked in Vaseline on the outside when swimming or while taking a shower. For larger insects, the ear is flushed with mineral oil to suffocate the organism and go to see a doctor for removal.
Oftentimes, the cause is due to water that stays in the ear after showering or swimming, or insertion of foreign implements, thus, creating a suitable and inviting culture media for bacterial growth and proliferation.


Additionally, this material accumulates dirt, dead cells and other debris and helps move these elements out of the ear. Ears can be dried using towel corners or by placing a blow dryer several centimeters away from the ear set at its lowest setting. Removing an object trapped in the ear must not be attempted by anyone, as this can be hard. Another useful factor is the downward slope of the ear canal which helps water and other materials to drain out of the canal.
Soap and shampoo residues must be cleared immediately as these cause irritation and itching. This will be sent to a laboratory for testing to find out whether your ear infection is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. These are usually prescribed as ear drops but your GP may prescribe tablets if you have widespread infection or you’re at risk of having a severe infection.
You may need to have your ear cleaned and any discharge or wax removed by your doctor or nurse before using ear drops to treat an infection. You may be asked to lie down or tilt you head to the side with your affected ear facing upwards when you use ear drops.
Sometimes, it’s advised to keep still for ten minutes after using ear drops or a spray. Trying to remove ear wax yourself can also cause an ear infection, as you may damage the skin of your ear canal. Ear syringing itself carries a risk of ear infection and isn’t recommended as a treatment if your ear canal has been previously inflamed or damaged.



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