Also known as Swimmer’s Ear, outer ear infection results from inflammation, often bacteria, in the outer ear. Generally, they happen when water, sand or dirt gets into the ear canal. Moisture in the air or swimming makes the ear more susceptible to the type of ear infection. Symptoms include: severe pain, itching, redness and swelling in the outer ear. There also maybe some fluid drainage. Often the pain is worse when chewing or when you pull on the ear. To reduce pain and prevent other long-term effects on the ear, be sure to see a doctor. Typically, your doctor will prescribe eardrops and will clean the ear out with a microscope. Most outer ear infections resolve in seven to 10 days.
Middle ear infections can be caused by either bacterial or viral infection. These infections maybe be triggered by airborne or food borne allergies, infections elsewhere in the body, nutritional deficiencies or a blocked Eustachian tube. In chronic cases, a thick , glue-like fluid may be discharge from the middle ear. Treatment is contingent on the cause of the infection and ranges from analgesic to the insertion of a tube to drain fluid from the middle ear.
Also knows as labyrinthitis, inner ear infections are most commonly caused by other infections in the body, particularly sinus, throat or tooth infections. Symptoms include dizziness, fever, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss and tinnitus. Always seek medical attention if you think you may have an inner ear infection.
Exostoses are bony lumps that grow within the external auditory canal (ear canal) close to the eardrum, as shown in the illustration.
Normal ear-canal skin covers the exostoses. They typically take many years to develop and are fairly common. Multiple exostoses are usually found.
Exostose form slowly when a new, thin layer of dense bone grows in response to the stimuli of cold water and the cooling effect of the wind.
Symptoms appear when the exostoses and ear wax occlude the ear canal, causing water and debris to be trapped.
This results in repeated episodes of outer ear infection, pain and hearing loss. Swimmers may be in their 30’s or 40’s before symptoms become persistent and troubling.
Hearing loss, pain and ear infection (otitis externa) may become severe and chronic. In such cases, surgical removal of the exostoses can be an important treatment. Surgery is done via a microscope and a high speed fine drill to remove the extern bone. Healing usually takes approx 6 weeks.