Otitis externa is an inflammation or infection of the ear canal
(the passage leading from the external ear to the eardrum) that may develop
when water, sand, dirt, or other debris gets into the ear canal.
Symptoms of otitis externa (also called swimmer's ear) are pain in and
discharge from the ear.
Other causes of inflammation or infection
of the ear canal include:
Scratching the ear canal with a cotton swab or
a sharp object.
Chronic skin conditions, such as eczema or
Excessive cleaning of the ear canal.
baths and shampoos.
Treatment for otitis externa may include nonprescription
pain relievers and antibiotic ear drops (with or without steroids).
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.