Outer Ear Diseases
What is outer ear infection?
External otitis media is an acute infection of the ear canal skin, typically caused by bacteria. External ear infections are caused by “Pseudomonas aeruginosa” and some similar bacteria, and sometimes fungi, especially from swimming pools, sea or polluted waters. It's usually caused by water that stays in the ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that helps bacteria grow.
What are the symptoms of outer ear inflammation?
Symptoms of external ear infections are itching, throbbing pain, obstruction, and discharge. These symptoms can sometimes be accompanied by fever. Ear pain may radiate to the neck and around the eyes. Movements in which the ear moves, such as chewing, and pressing on the cartilage protrusion just in front of the ear canal may cause increased pain.
In addition to itching in the outer ear, symptoms such as yellow, yellow-green and foul-smelling discharge, inflamed or foul-smelling pain, congestion can be seen,
Symptoms of outer ear infection may differ depending on the severity of the infection.
Mild symptoms of outer ear inflammation are:
Itching of the ear canal
Mild redness in the inner area of the ear
Mild pain in the auricle
Clear, odorless ear discharge
Moderate symptoms of outer ear inflammation are:
More intense itching in the ear canal
Intense ear discharge
Increased earache. Touching or moving the external ear canal increases the pain.
The ear skin may appear scaly and rash.
More extensive redness in the ear
Feeling of fullness and occlusion in the ear
Difficulty in hearing
The advanced symptoms of outer ear inflammation are as follows;
Severe pain that may radiate to the face, neck, or side of the head may be a sign of external ear infection. Sometimes, the person may not even be able to eat because of the severe pain caused by external ear infection.
Complete obstruction of the ear canal can be a sign of external otitis. In this case, the person's hearing problems may increase even more.
There may be redness or swelling in the outer ear.
Swelling in the lymph in the neck is among the symptoms of external ear canal inflammation.
Yellow-green colored and foul-smelling discharge
In cases where the external ear canal inflammation progresses, high fever can be seen.
What are the causes of outer ear inflammation?
The external ear canal is a warm and humid area. This can lead to the growth of bacteria and fungi and easily cause disease. Although it is generally seen in the summer months, it can be seen in all seasons of the year, and it is the inflammation of the skin lining the external ear canal and the outer surface of the eardrum. It is different from otitis media. Inflammation of the external ear canal, also known as external otitis; It can be caused by infection, allergic or dermatological reasons. However, the most common cause of external ear infections is fungal or bacterial infections.
The fungus that most commonly causes external ear infections is Aspergillus niger. Severe itching, hearing loss and pain are prominent. On examination, white fungal hyphae or black creamy material can be observed in the external ear canal. In its treatment, it is to protect the ear from water and moisture and to use various drugs, dressings and fungicides after cleaning by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. In case of fungal infection, dressings must be repeated frequently. Otherwise, it will lead to long-term and chronic cases.
Frequent cleaning of the ear canal with earwax and inserting a foreign object into the ear for the purpose of cleaning itching can remove the protective layer and damage the skin in this area and lead to an easier infection. Again, taking a shower at frequent intervals or swimming in the pool as a result of excessive water entering the ear canal can lead to the destruction of the protective wax known as earwax, which is secreted from the sweat and oil glands just at the entrance of the ear canal. The destruction of this wax facilitates the reproduction of bacteria and fungi.
Apart from all these reasons;
swimming in polluted waters,
scratching and messing the ear,
Foreign body in the ear
Washing the ear can also cause inflammation in the external ear canal.
How is external ear infection diagnosed?
The diagnosis of external ear infection can usually be made by the examination of the otolaryngologist. During the doctor's examination, the appearance of the outer ear and the control findings may be sufficient for diagnosis. Sometimes additional tests can be done to avoid confusion with middle ear infection. Since the treatments for otitis media and otitis media are different, it is important to make the correct diagnosis. The otolaryngologist will clarify the diagnosis by examining the ear canal with a lighted instrument.
How is external ear infection treated?
For the treatment of external ear canal inflammations, drugs taken by heart without consulting a doctor may cause the problem to worsen and lead to hearing loss in the future. Because; If there is a mass of dirt or fungus in the ear, it should be known that the drugs applied without the necessary cleaning process in expert hands will not have a therapeutic effect, and the drug should be used with the decision of an ENT specialist.
In external ear infections, the ear canal appears red, swollen and runny. A direct diagnosis of external ear canal inflammation can be made with a physical examination. During the examination, any discharge or inflammation should be cleaned. External ear canal inflammation can be treated with ear drops and medications depending on the condition of the person. If the pain is too much painkillers may be recommended. During the treatment period, it is necessary to protect the ear from water. After the treatment is started, there is usually a decrease in complaints within 3 days and a complete recovery within 10 days. Early intervention in external ear infections ensures less pain and prevents the spread of infection to other areas.
Do not forget to pay attention to these during the treatment period;
Try to keep your ears absolutely dry while you are using your medicine.
Prefer taking a bath rather than a shower. While washing your hair, you can try to prevent the water from getting into your ears by plugging cotton.
Do not use earplugs.
Avoid water sports. Consult your doctor before resuming water sports.
Do not put any medicine in your ears other than those recommended by your doctor.
Scratching and rubbing can exacerbate otitis externa.
Frequently asked questions about otitis externa
How to Use Ear Drops?
When using ear drops, you should be careful to use them for the time and frequency specified by your doctor. Ear drops should be warmed in the palm of the hand before instillation into the ear. Heating prevents the medicine from causing dizziness after instillation. The earlobe should be moved back and forth to allow the medicine to advance in the ear canal.
Does Ear Cotton Cause Outer Ear Inflammation?
Earwax, which accumulates in the external ear canal and cannot be thrown out, can also lead to external ear inflammation when combined with the humid environment. On the other hand, ear cottons, which are widely used to clean this type of earwax, both increase the accumulation of dirt and irritate the ear canal, thus paving the way for infections. Ear cottons are not recommended for cleaning, as microbes easily settle on the irritated area. In cases where earwax cannot be removed by itself, it is necessary to consult a specialist for ear cleaning.
Is it possible to be treated at home without consulting a specialist?
Antibiotics should never be used in external ear infections without consulting a doctor. If you have an earache that does not go away, the right thing to do is to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Again, it is not a right behavior to treat external ear tract inflammation at home using herbal products as a simple problem. Improper applications such as herbal products can also cause an external ear infection to worsen rather than cure it.
What Should Be Done to Prevent Outer Ear Inflammation?
The first measure to minimize the risk of external ear infections, especially in summer, is the care shown for the cleanliness of the swimming pools used. On the other hand, if the ear has been exposed to any infection in the past or if damage has been detected in the ear itself, earplugs should be used to prevent outer ear infections. People with external ear infections, in order to get positive results from the treatment and to be protected from more serious diseases;
Ears should be protected while swimming.
Make sure that the pool or sea is clean,
If there is severe pain in the ear and earplugs cannot be used, pool and sea activities should be suspended for a while.
Drying the ear after exposure to moisture (with soft cotton)
Not scratching the ears, not putting cotton buds or other objects in the ears.
Is There a Natural Treatment for External Ear Canal Inflammation?
Treatment can be very easy in the first days when itching and mild deep pain in the external ear canal begin. It is applied to dry the outer ear canal and to increase the acid level of the outer ear canal. If there is no hole in the eardrum, adding 2-3 drops of vinegar to the external ear canal helps. If this is not enough or if the pain continues to increase, it is very important to consult a specialist as soon as possible.
What are the Risk Factors of Outer Ear Inflammation?
In the formation of external ear infections, the person's previous ear problems and the fact that the water in contact with the ear is dirty and contaminated, and its level is high are important factors. Therefore, patients with a high risk of external ear infections are those who have had external ear canal problems before. People who have had external ear infections should avoid direct contact of their ears with water while taking a shower, in the sea or in the pool. It is not necessary for people who have not had a problem with their ears in the past to take these precautions when entering the sea or pool.
Those with uncontrolled chronic diabetes
Organ transplant patients
Those receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy
Those with chronic diseases and nutritional disorders
Especially people in this group should be very careful against external ear infections.
How Long Does Outer Ear Inflammation Last?
External ear infection usually heals within 7-10 days after the doctor starts treatment. The complaints of pain and itching begin to decrease a few days after the use of the drug.
Is Outer Ear Inflammation Contagious?
External ear infections are not contagious. Therefore, if the patient feels good, there is no problem in his socialization.
Can Those With Outer Ear Inflammation Take a Bath?
Those with external ear infections should protect their ears while bathing. It is important to use earplugs to prevent water from entering the ear canal during the bath and to prevent the ear from remaining moist by drying it thoroughly after the bath.
Our Clinical Information
He was born in 1981 in Zile district of Tokat. Starting primary school at Rize Atatürk Primary School, Dr. Deniz Yazıcı continued his education life in the Ergani district of Diyarbakır, since his father's place of duty changed since the 4th grade of primary school.