Saturday, June 8, 2024

What Is Otitis Externa? Its Causes And Symptoms

Otitis externa refers to the condition that causes inflammation in the area of your external ear canal. It is the tube present between your outer ear and eardrum. It is also called ‘swimmer’s ear.’ Repeated water exposure can lead to more inflammation.

If the episodes of otitis externa occur again and again even after the treatment, your doctor takes a swab of the inner area of your ear. It helps to get information about the type of infection you are suffering from. In this way, your doctor prescribes you some effective medicines.


Symptoms of otitis externa include temporary hearing loss, ear pain, liquid discharge, itchiness, and appearance of pus from the ear. In this case, usually, your one ear is affected. Symptoms can go away within a few days. Some people can experience symptoms for several months.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of otitis externa, see your doctor. He will ask you about specific symptoms and regularly use some items for your ear, like earplugs or hearing aids. In addition, they examine the inner area of your ear using a device called an otoscope.


A bacterial infection is a cause behind most of the cases of otitis externa. If you have fungal infections, irritation in the ear, and allergy, you can develop the condition of otitis externa. Many other states can make you vulnerable to developing otitis externa.

These conditions include getting water in your ear regularly and damage to the inner area of your ear. Getting water in the internal space of the ear is the significant cause of otitis externa. The reason is that it can cause stretching inside the size of your ear.

Moisture provides a suitable environment for the growth of bacteria. The condition of otitis externa is common. One in ten people is affected by this condition at any stage of their lives. Women experience this condition more as compared to men.

More often, people with the age range of 45 to 75 years suffer from otitis externa. Therefore, people who have some long-term or chronic conditions can have the problem of otitis externa. 


Sometimes the symptoms of otitis externa disappear on their own without taking any treatment. It can take many weeks to recover. For example, your doctor might prescribe you drops for the ear to use. These drops help you to get rid of symptoms in a few days.

Doctors use different drops to treat the symptoms of otitis externa. They advise you to use these drops many times a day. If your doctor has prescribed you certain drops and medicines, take these medicines timely according to prescription.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist to get further effective treatment if you get severe symptoms. However, another specialist can treat your condition in a better way if one treatment fails to respond. 


Prevention is better than suffering. There are many ways to be safe from getting the condition of otitis externa. Avoid other things like your finger to insert in the ear that can harm the skin of the ear canal that is sensitive.

Use earplugs properly if you are a regular swimmer because swimmers are more vulnerable to get this problem. Wear a swimming cap properly to cover your ears. Always protect your ears against water during swimming. Avoid getting shampoo and soap in your ear while taking a shower.


Complications from the condition of otitis externa are not common, but sometimes people can get serious issues. For example, necrotizing otitis externa is the one common complication of otitis externa. In this condition, the infection can spread from the area of your ear canal to the surrounding bone.

Doctors first try to treat this condition using antibiotics and recommend surgery if the situation becomes more fatal.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can enhance the risk of a swimmer’s ear. These factors are given below.

  • Excess Moisture In The Area Of Ear Canal
  • Cleaning of the ear canal
  • Ear devices
  • Exposure to bacteria

If you have certain ear conditions and you cannot treat them at home, consult your doctor or visit a hospital as soon as possible. It is good to treat the underlying condition at the time to avoid getting complications. It saves you from the fatal consequences of ignorance.