Outer ear infection treatment
Do you want to know about outer ear infection treatment? Read this full article to know details of summary, definition, cause, symptom, and outer ear infection treatment, and more.
Summary About Outer Ear Infection Treatment: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
The infection of the inner ear is called labyrinthitis and can be serious. The infection of the middle ear is called otitis media. It can cause temporary hearing loss and can reach the inner ear if left untreated. The infection of the outer ear is called otitis externa or swimmer’s ear.
All forms of ear infection are most common in children, but adults are more prone to swimmer’s ear than middle and inner ear infections. Although little ones under the age of six make up the most cases of otitis media, older children tend to get swimmer’s ear. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
There are no figures on the incidence of swimmer’s ear, as it is usually a simple, transient earache that goes unreported to the family doctor. However, we know that this type of infection is very common in summer, mainly because it is the time when children.
The ear is divided into three distinct segments – the inner ear, the middle ear, and the outer ear.
- The inner ear contains the balance organs and nerves essential for hearing.
- The middle ear contains the bones that connect the eardrum to the inner ear. The eardrum separates the middle ear and the outer ear.
- The outer ear simply refers to the earlobe and the short duct leading to the eardrum. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Definition of Otitis Externa: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
Otitis externa is characterized by inflammation (redness and swelling) of the outer ear canal. The latter is a canal located between the outer ear and the eardrum. In the majority of cases, only one of the two ears is impacted.
This condition of the outer ear is also called: Swimmer’s ear. Indeed, frequent and/or prolonged exposure to water can be the cause of the development of such otitis. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Common Clinical Signs: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
The most common clinical signs of otitis externa are:
- Pain, which can be very intense
- Discharge of pus or fluid from the ear
- Hearing difficulties or even progressive hearing loss
Appropriate treatment is available, and it alleviates symptoms within a few days. However, some cases can persist and last over time. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Causes of Otitis Externa: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
There are different origins of otitis externa. Otitis externa is not a contagious problem. We are going to see what can be the different causes at the origin of this inflammation of the ear canal. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Otitis externa is most often infectious, that is to say of bacterial origin. In rarer cases, it is caused by a fungus (mycotic ear infection).
- Infection can occur from repeated bathing, for example. This is why in summer, otitis externa affects children and babies more frequently.
- The trauma to the ear can also cause this infection.
- You may get an ear infection from scratching your ear too often, using cotton swabs, or from using irritants.
- It also happens that a plug of earwax is created and develops the proliferation of bacteria.
- Other things can also play a role, such as an anatomical factor or related to a disease. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Swimmer’s ear: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
Swimming is not the only favorable terrain for the swimmer’s ear. You can also develop an infection after hair spray, or any other liquid gets into the ear canal. The bacteria (and occasionally fungi) responsible for the swimmer’s ear do not necessarily live in the water.
Many of them are already present in the ear canal or are caught by the vagaries of everyday life. However, the presence of water or other foreign fluids in the ear can provide an ideal home for these bacteria. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
The use of cotton swabs also promotes the growth of bacteria. The skin in the ear canal slowly moves outward, like a treadmill, dragging the skin residue away from the eardrum. Pushing the cotton swab inside the ear goes against this process and causes a buildup of dead skin and earwax.
Sometimes scratching the ear canal can also promote infection. This buildup tends to lock moisture inside the ear. Moist skin and tissues create an ideal environment for bacteria, which promotes their multiplication and leads to infection. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
There is evidence that people with the following conditions are more likely to develop swimmer’s ear:
The most common causes are:
- Bacterial infection, mainly Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus.
- A seborrhea dermatitis, a skin condition causing irritation and inflammation
- An otitis media caused by infection of the deep ear
- A fungal infection, caused by Aspergilla’s, or Candida albicans
- An allergic reaction as a result of taking medication, using earplugs, using an allergenic shampoo, etc. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Symptoms of Otitis Externa: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
Otitis externa can cause a number of clinical signs and symptoms. These include:
- Pain, more or less intense
- Itching and irritation, in and around the outer ear canal
- A feeling of stiffness and swelling in the outer ear
- A feeling of pressure in the ear
- Flaking skin around the ear
- Progressive hearing loss Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Beyond these acute symptoms, chronic signs can also be associated with such a condition:
- Constant itching, in and around the ear canal
- Persistent discomfort and pain Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ear Infection In Adults?
If you have an otitis externa, you may experience:
- A ringing sensation in the ear;
- Pruritus (itching) inside the ear canal
- An intense ear pain, especially at night or when you chew;
- Increased sensitivity around the ear and pinna;
- Swelling of the external auditory meatus ;
- Jaw pain;
- Slight hearing loss ;
- Dizziness ;
- A clear or purulent discharge coming out of the ear.
If the ear infection becomes more complicated, it can also lead to edema around the ear and cause lymph nodes to appear in the neck. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
Tissues in front of and below the ear can swell and become especially tender. There is often a high proportion of skin debris and earwax in the ear canal.
More serious bacterial infections sometimes cause a yellowish pus discharge. This discharge can give off an unpleasant odor. Infections caused by fungi sometimes create gray-white pus.
Pus, earwax, and debris can block the arrival of sound waves into the eardrum, causing temporary impairment of hearing. Read more about outer ear infection treatment.
This is not a sign of ear damage. In principle, there is no risk of the infection spreading to the middle or inner ear, as the eardrum does not allow fungi and bacteria to pass through. The middle ear is usually infected through the ducts leading from the throat (the Eustachian tubes ). The eardrum is not as delicate as you might think.
Complications from swimmer’s ear are extremely rare, except in people with diabetes. One of the ear’s main defenses against bacteria is the acidity of earwax. Unfortunately, earwax in people with diabetes is often quite alkaline.
A low level of acidity in earwax is particularly conducive to serious infections that can spread all around the bone. This is called malignant otitis externa, a phenomenon that usually only affects people with diabetes or people with a weakened immune system.
Risk factors are also known: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
- Swimming, especially in open water
- Significant exposure to a humid environment
- A scratch in the ear
- Excessive use of cotton swabs
- Excessive use of earplugs and/or headphones
- The use of vaporizers for the ears
- Hair dyes
Evolution and Possible Complications of Otitis Externa
Although complications associated with otitis externa, are rare. There is a low risk of a negative course of the disease.
Among the possible changes, we can cite:
- The formation of an abscess
- Narrowing of the outer ear canal
- Inflammation of the eardrum, leading to its perforation
- A bacterial infection of the skin of the ear
- Malignant otitis externa: a rare but serious condition characterized by an infection spreading to the bone around the ear.
Diagnostic: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
The doctor will check to see if pulling the earlobe slightly or pushing the tragus (small pinna just in front of the opening of the canal) is causing pain. If so, it is most likely an external infection (swimmer’s ear) and not otitis media. A rarer fungal swimmer’s ear is usually less painful.
A laboratory culture to isolate the causative organism is only done when treatment does not appear to be working.
How to Prevent Otitis Externa? Outer Ear Infection Treatment
The prevention of otitis externa is hardly possible. In addition, reducing the risk of developing such a condition is, and involves:
- Avoidance of damage to the ear: limit the use of cotton swabs, headphones, or even earplugs
- Cleaning their ears regularly, but not excessively
- Prevent and treat other conditions in the ear (especially skin problems around the ear).
How To Treat Otitis Externa? Outer Ear Infection Treatment
Otitis externa can be treated effectively by using a suitable treatment in the form of drops. This treatment depends on the root cause of the disease. In this sense, it may be a prescription for an antibiotic (for the treatment of a bacterial infection), corticosteroids (limiting swelling), and an antifungal (for the treatment of fungal infection).
The majority of cases, the symptoms tend to worsen at the start of treatment.
In addition, there are ways to limit the worsening of symptoms:
- Avoid putting your ears in the water
- Avoid the risk of allergies and inflammation (wearing headphones, earplugs, earrings, etc.)
- In the event of very intense pain, the prescription of painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, is also possible.
How To Calm The Pain During An Otitis Externa?
The only way to relieve an otitis externa while waiting for your medical appointment or for the treatment to take effect is to take pain relievers, such as paracetamol. You should avoid self-medication, including taking no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and ketoprofen, as this can have side effects. During your consultation, the doctor will also be able to tell you the good hygiene reflexes to have to avoid the reappearance of the symptoms of otitis.
If you, or your child, have otitis externa with unbearable pain, it is best to seek urgent medical attention.
Good to know: Essential oils do not treat otitis externa. Homeopathy is also rarely prescribed in cases of otitis externa.
How Do You Recognize An Otitis Externa? Outer Ear Infection Treatment
If you are seeing an ear infection, your doctor will need to do an ear test to make the diagnosis. In particular, he will feel parts of the ear, such as the tragus, to see if this triggers the pain. He will also be able to pull on the auricular pinna. He will also have to observe the external auditory canal using a horoscope.
Good to know: Outer Ear Infection Treatment
Serous or serous otitis is a discreet form of otitis, common in young children. It causes hearing loss but no pain and heals spontaneously after 3 months. However, if you suspect your child has otitis media, you should see a doctor as it could lead to language learning difficulties.
How Long Does An Otitis Externa Last?
If the management of otitis is rapid, the duration of the infection will be only a few days after the start of treatment. It can spread, especially if there are complications, but it is rarer.