Otitis Externa

What is it?

A swollen, itchy, painful, discharging or blocked ear canal

What causes it?

Bacteria or fungus which live on the surface of the skin can cause an infection in your ear canal

What should I do about it?

Visit your GP to find out if you need:

  • Ear drops
  • Antibiotics
  • Pain killers
  • Ear swabs

Have Your Ear Canals Suctioned

  • To clear any debris 
  • Clear the canal
  • Let the drops in
  • Soothe the irritation
  • Relieve blocked feeling 
  • Improve hearing
  • Help prevent re-infection 

Keep Your Ears Dry

Swimming, Surfing, Diving and other water activities should be avoided for the duration of the infection and for at least one week after it has resolved.

Avoid getting your ears wet when showering by using earplugs (blue tac is fine), or by tipping your head forward and using your ears as umbrellas when washing your hair.

If no improvement after 48hrs see your GP to review treatment options.
If you have a temperature above 38.3, swollen glands, increasing pain and feel increasingly unwell - SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION

You are more likely to develop Otitis Externa if you have:

  • Narrow ear canals
  • Excessive wax
  • Water in your ear
  • Eczema or Psoriasis
  • Allergies
  • Coughs, colds and flu which leave you feeling run down
  • Had Otitis Externa before

Cotton buds, finger nails, hearing aids and ear plugs can cause scratches, breaking the skin, allowing the bugs to take hold.

Hot humid weather provides the perfect environment in a moist, dark, warm ear canal for the bacteria or fungus to grow.

This information has been produced by Ear Health Ltd. It is intended as a guide only and is not a complete medical explanation.