|The Ear Canal|
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- Following frequent swimming or bathing when the ears are repeatedly filled with water and not drained completely afterward
- After removal of protective ear wax, especially if the cleaning is painful and causes bleeding
- Excessive use of cotton swabs to clean ears
- Injury to the skin in the ear canal
- As a consequence of skin conditions that also can occur in the ear canal, such as:
- Frequent swimming or showering, particularly in young children who have narrow ear canals
- Insertion of any object into the ear canal causing damage to the lining
- Skin conditions causing breaks in the skin of the ear canal
- Medical conditions resulting in a compromised immune system
- Redness and/or itching inside the ear canal
- Pain in the ear, sometimes severe, that may worsen when chewing or talking, and with pulling on the ear
- Hearing loss or a plugged-up or pressure sensation of the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Keep the ear dry for 7 to 10 days.
- Take baths instead of showers.
- Avoid swimming.
- Do not rub or scratch the ear or inside the ear canal.
- Avoid swimming in unclean water.
- Thoroughly drain and dry the ear and ear canal after swimming or showering.
- When showering, gently place a cotton ball lightly coated with petroleum jelly into the outer ear to prevent water collection.
- Do not insert anything into the ear canal, including your finger or cotton swabs.
- Do not remove ear wax. If you are having problems hearing, see a doctor first.
- Avoid using ear plugs since they can irritate the lining of the ear canal and can trap water inside the ear.
- Consider using a tight-fitting swimming cap.
- Use a white vinegar/rubbing alcohol eardrop solution following swimming. This will help restore the natural healthy environment inside the ear canal.
American Academy of Family Practitioners http://www.aafp.org/
American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery http://www.entnet.org/
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.csohns.com
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
American Academy of Otolaryngology. Swimmer’s ear. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/healthinfo/ears/swimmers.cfm . Accessed September 29, 2005.
Block SL. Otitis externa: providing relief while avoiding complications. J Family Practice . 2005;54(8):669-676.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Otitis externa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 20, 2010. Accessed November 10, 2010.
National Center for Emergency Medicine Informatics. Otitis externa (swimmer's ear). National Center for Emergency Medicine Informatics website. Available at: http://www.ncemi.org/cse/cse0302.htm . Accessed November 10, 2010.
Rutka J. Acute otitis externa: treatment perspectives. Ear Nose Throat J . 2004;83(9 Suppl 4):20-21;discussion 21-22.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Swimmer’s ear. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/swimmers%5Fear.htm . Accessed September 29, 2005.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/91/2012 -