Chronic otitis externa

Chronic Otitis Externa

Chronic Otitis Externa (COE) is an inflammation of the outer ear canal that often results in discomfort and itching. This condition is commonly caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the outer ear canal, commonly due to water exposure, poor hygiene, allergies, and medical conditions. It can range from mild irritation to extreme pain, hearing loss, and potential drainage.

Symptoms of COE include itching, tenderness, drainage, and discharge of a yellow or white fluid. Swelling may cause the ear canal to close insetting certain cases. COE can cause temporary hearing loss, tinnitus, and even vertigo.

Treating chronic otitis externa involves cleaning the inflamed ear canal and surrounding areas with warm water and using antibiotic drops or ear drops containing steroidal and antifungal ingredients. Surgical treatment may be used in cases where the ear canal was blocked by the swelling.

Preventing chronic otitis externa usually involves managing any underlying allergies, making sure to keep the ear dry, minimizing water exposure to the ear, and practicing good hygiene.

Tips to Help Prevent Chronic Otitis Externa:

  • Avoid inserting objects, such as, cotton swabs, into your ear.
  • Keep your ears dry, especially after swimming or showering.
  • Mix a few drops of a half-water, half-rubbing alcohol mixture, and put a few drops of that in your ear after swimming or showering.
  • Wear ear plugs when swimming or showering.
  • Avoid using any medications or creams in your ear unless prescribed by your doctor.
  • Consult your doctor if you experience any hearing loss, drainage, or severe pain.