What causes swimmer’s ear and what can be done to treat it?

Dr. Payam Daneshrad and his team at Daneshrad Clinic in Torrance and Santa Monica, California see patients with many issues regarding the ear, nose, and throat. Certain conditions, such as swimmer’s ear, are common and sometimes require assistance from our medical team. Swimmer’s ear, medically known as acute otitis externa, is a painful condition that is often caused by water entering into the ear and becoming trapped. This moisture in the ear canal can result in fungal infections and bacterial growth. Swimmer’s ear is a common condition seen at our practice and should be addressed as soon as possible to reduce the risk of further complications.

What can cause swimmer’s ear?

While swimmer’s ear was named due to the most common cause, there are other situations in which patients may develop this condition. Patients who are exposed to bacteria present in hot tubs and polluted water may develop an infection in the ears. Cuts to the ear canal, excessive cotton swab use, and contact with certain chemicals can result in this condition as well.

What are the symptoms of swimmer’s ear?

The most common symptoms experienced in patients who develop swimmer’s ear include:

  • Ear fullness or blockage sensation
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Decreased hearing ability
  • Pain radiating to the neck and face
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Redness and swelling around the ears

Treatment of swimmers ear

In the earlier stages of swimmer’s ear, most patients will benefit from using ear drops and carefully cleaning the ear canal. These may be over-the-counter or prescription medication drops. Severe infections may require antibiotic drops and pain medications. Antibiotics may also be topical or oral.

What can occur if swimmer’s ear is left untreated?

If patients do not seek treatment of swimmer’s ear, they are at risk of developing complications include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Bone damage
  • Cartilage damage

Learn more about swimmer’s ear with the team at Daneshrad Clinic

If you live in the areas of Santa Monica or Torrance, California, we welcome you to our practice with our board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Payam Daneshrad. His practice is here to assist patients with concerns regarding the ear, nose, and throat, and he is highly experienced in providing diagnostic and treatment of common concerns. Call the main office at (310) 453-6500 to schedule an appointment at either of his office locations.

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