Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Ear Canal Infection Overview

Another name for Ear Canal Infection is Otitis Externa.

What is otitis externa?
A person with otitis externa has inflammation of the ear canal, usually due to an infection. Bacteria and fungi are the most common causes for the infection.

What are the symptoms of otitis externa?
Symptoms of otitis externa include loss of hearing, ear pain, ear discharge, fever, and ear itching. The ear canal may appear red and swollen, and there may be swollen lymph glands in the neck or behind the ear.

How does the doctor treat otitis externa?
Treatment for otitis externa includes ear wax removal, ear canal irrigation, antibiotic ear drops, oral antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain, and narcotic pain medication.

Continue to Ear Canal Infection Risk Factors

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ear Canal Infection References
  1. Bhandary S, Karki P, Sinha BK. Malignant otitis externa: a review. Pac Health Dialog. 2002 Mar;9(1):64-7. [12737420]
  2. McCoy SI, Zell ER, Besser RE. Antimicrobial prescribing for otitis externa in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 Feb;23(2):181-3. [14872192]
  3. Roland PS, Pien FD, Schultz CC, et al; Ciprodex Otic AOE Study Group. Efficacy and safety of topical ciprofloxacin/dexamethasone versus neomycin/polymyxin B/hydrocortisone for otitis externa. Curr Med Res Opin. 2004 Aug;20(8):1175-83. [15324520]
  4. van Balen FA, Smit WM, Zuithoff NP, Verheij TJ. Clinical efficacy of three common treatments in acute otitis externa in primary care: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2003 Nov 22;327(7425):1201-5. [14630756]
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