Otitis externa is an infection of the outer part of the ear that includes the pinna (visible part of the ear), and the ear canal or external channel. The outer ear is covered with skin just like the rest of the body. however, the skin lining the ear and the external canal has special characteristics. In principle, it is very fragile and thin, making it very susceptible to trauma and manipulation. This area tends to trap moisture, which facilitates fungal and bacterial infections in swimmers. Because of this, otitis externa is also known as “swimmers ear”. To remedy this, you should visit the Hearing center.
This infection is not usually related to an infection of the upper respiratory tract, but due to direct trauma, excessive moisture, cleaning or scratching ears with cotton swabs, applicators or other objects. The most common symptoms of this infection are intense earaches involved with increases in wanting to pull or move the ear. It can be dry or have a discharge (otorrhea) that varies in colour and a consistency of white, yellow or green. Depending on the severity of the infection, the patient may have a feeling of their ear being clogged with possible hearing loss and fever.
It is recommended that you visit the Hearing center so the doctor can provide proper treatment to avoid complications. If treated properly, the symptoms lessen within a few hours after starting treatment, as there is partial to total relief of almost all symptoms within 24 to 48 hrs. Depending on the severity of the infection, it can heal one hundred percent in a week or 10 days. In complicated patients that are susceptible to infections like those who are immuno suppressed or diabetic, this period can be prolonged and the complications can become more feasible, and may produce what is known as “malignant otitis externa.”
If not treated early, edema (swelling) of the external ear canal skin will occur, after which the canal will close. This may cause secretions to accumulate, extending to the skin of the ear and with it cellulite and deformation. In cases of malignant external otitis the ear bone (temporal bone) can be affected, causing necrosis thereof, and thus facial paralysis, meningitis, and death. Visit us to learn more.