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How to help swimmers ear pain: Treatment for Swimmer’s Ear | Stanford Health Care


What Are the Treatments for Swimmer’s Ear?

If you come back from a day at the water park with a case of swimmer’s ear, don’t plan on just trying to shake it off. See your doctor to get treatment that fights the infection and eases your pain.

At the Doctor’s Office

For swimmer’s ear treatments to work well, your doctor will first need to gently clean out any gunk that’s blocking your ear canal, like fluid, dead skin, and extra wax. She may use hydrogen peroxide, a suction device, or a special tool called an ear curette.

Your doctor will also want to check to make sure that your eardrum is healthy. If it’s torn (perforated), regular swimmer’s ear treatments may not work. You may need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist for treatment.


You’ll probably leave your doctor’s office with a prescription for eardrops to use at home. It’s the most common treatment. The eardrops fight the infection and help your ear heal.

Depending on your situation, these drops might have:

  • Antibiotics to kill bacteria
  • Steroids to help with swelling
  • Antifungal medicines, if your symptoms are caused by a fungus
  • Chemicals that restore a healthy balance to your ear canal, so it’s harder for germs to grow

Follow the bottle’s instructions for putting in the eardrops. Usually, you need to:

  • Tilt your head or lie on your side when you put the drops into your ear
  • Stay in that position for 3 to 5 minutes to let the drops soak in
  • Put a cotton ball into your ear, and leave it there for 20 minutes to keep the drops in
  • Repeat three to four times a day, or as your doctor recommends

You may find it easier to have somebody in your family put in the drops for you. They’ll probably have better aim. If the drops hurt because they’re cold, warm the bottle first by holding it in your hands.

What to Do at Home During Treatment

Once you start treatment, it will probably take about a week before your symptoms go away. In the meantime, you can take steps to feel better and help your treatment work.

Use painkillers if you need them. Over-the-counter acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help with pain. If they’re not enough, your doctor may give you a prescription painkiller.

Use the eardrops for as long as it says on the bottle. That’s usually 7 to 14 days. You may start feeling better after just a few days, but don’t stop early. If you do, the infection could come back.

Keep your ears dry. When you shower, gently put cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly into your ears to keep out water. And don’t swim until your doctor says it’s OK — probably for 7 to 10 days.

Don’t use headphones or a hearing aid. Wait until you feel better before you put anything into your ear.

Protect your ears from chemicals in cosmetics. For some people, hairsprays, hair dyes, and other products can irritate the skin and cause swimmer’s ear. Stop using anything that you think could be causing a problem — or at least put cotton balls into your ears first.

Call your doctor if you’re not feeling somewhat better in 36 to 48 hours. You may need a different approach to get rid of the infection.

Treatments for Severe Swimmer’s Ear

Most folks find they can get their swimmer’s ear under control with eardrops. But if the infection is more serious or has spread, you may need other types of treatment.

Ear wicks. If your ear canal is very swollen, it can block eardrops from getting far enough into your ear. If this happens, your doctor might put a wick into your ear. It’s just a piece of cotton that helps the drops get to where they need to go. Your doctor may need to replace the wick a few times.

Oral or IV antibiotics. If your infection is hard to treat or severe — or it has spread to nearby tissue, cartilage, or bone — you may need more powerful antibiotics. One serious infection is called malignant (necrotizing) external otitis, which is more common in older people with diabetes and immune problems like HIV.

Next Steps

Once you start treatment, you’ll probably start feeling better within a few days. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days — or if they get worse — call your doctor.

When you’re better, take steps so you won’t get it again. Wear earplugs when you’re swimming, and dry your ears carefully after they get wet. And don’t pick or scratch inside your ears, since that can cause swimmer’s ear.

Above all, follow the advice your mom might have told you: Never stick anything in your ear that’s smaller than your elbow.

Otitis externa: Get rid of swimmer’s ear

Many swimmers are familiar with earaches that sometimes accompany their water workouts. However, the term “swimmer’s ear” may be an inaccurate way to describe this condition.

Facts about swimmer’s ear

  • Otitis externa is the clinical term for swimmer’s ear.
  • Swimmer’s ear is found more often in people who aren’t swimmers.
  • Anyone who is outside in the wind and rain can get swimmer’s ear.
  • Farmers can experience the problem often being exposed to the elements for a long time.

Identifying swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is the inflammation of the canal joining the eardrum to the external ear. Moisture – water and different kinds of bacteria – get trapped in the ear canal. The ear canal gets red and sore and swells up from the irritation.

Pain is often the first sign of otitis externa. When someone feels their ear is plugged and painful, they may see their physician. Pain is usually experienced while chewing or by tugging on the earlobes.

Treatment and prevention

Swimmer’s ear is usually treated with antibiotics, either in the form of pills or ear drops.

A homemade cure can be mixed from a solution of half rubbing alcohol and half vinegar. The alcohol combines with water in the ear and then evaporates, removing the water, while the acidity of the vinegar keeps bacteria from growing. Apply a couple of drops of solution in each ear. This home remedy is recommended for those with repeat infections.

Those with repeat infections may also want to try blow-drying their ears to make sure all the moisture is out. The may also want to use the homemade remedy of alcohol and vinegar after daily showers.

The best way to avoid otitis externa is to keep ears clean and dry. If the problem is persistent, wearing properly fitting earplugs while in the water is also a possible treatment. Adults should make sure to watch out for swimmer’s ear in children, as they may not be able to recognize the symptoms.

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Daniel Fick, MD
Professor of Family Medicine

Swimmer’s Ear | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is swimmer’s ear?

Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) is a redness or swelling (inflammation), irritation, or infection of your outer ear canal.

The ear canal is a tube that goes from the opening of the ear to the eardrum. When water stays in your ear canal, germs can grow.

This is a painful condition that often happens to children, and to swimmers of all ages. It does not spread from person to person.

What causes swimmer’s ear?

Swimming in unclean water is a common cause of swimmer’s ear.

Other possible causes include:

  • Being in warm, humid places
  • Cleaning or scratching your ear canal using your fingers, cotton swabs, or other objects
  • Having an injury to the ear canal
  • Having dry ear canal skin
  • Having an object in the ear canal
  • Having extra ear wax

Who is at risk for swimmer’s ear?

You are at greater risk for swimmer’s ear if you:

  • Have contact with germs in hot tubs or unclean pool water
  • Have a cut in the skin of your ear canal
  • Hurt your ear canal by putting cotton swabs, fingers, or other objects inside your ears
  • Use head phones, hearing aids, or swimming caps
  • Have a skin condition such as eczema

What are the symptoms of swimmer’s ear?

Each person’s symptoms may vary. The following are the most common symptoms of swimmer’s ear:

  • Redness of the outer ear
  • An itch in the ear
  • Pain, often when touching or wiggling your earlobe
  • Pus draining from your ear. This may be yellow or yellow-green, and it may smell.
  • Swollen glands in your neck
  • Swollen ear canal
  • Muffled hearing or hearing loss
  • A full or plugged-up feeling in the ear
  • Fever

The symptoms of swimmer’s ear may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is swimmer’s ear diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your past health and any symptoms you have now. He or she will give you a physical exam. Your provider will look into both of your ears.

Your provider may check your ears using a lighted tool (otoscope). This will help to see if you also have an infection in your middle ear. Some people may have both types of infections.

If you have pus draining from your ear, your provider may take a sample of the pus for testing. This is called an ear drainage culture. A cotton swab is placed gently in your ear canal to get a sample. The sample is sent to a lab to find out what is causing the ear infection.

How is swimmer’s ear treated?

With proper treatment from a healthcare provider, swimmer’s ear often clears up in 7 to 10 days.

Treatment may include:

  • Taking ear drops to kill bacteria (antibiotic ear drops)
  • Taking ear drops to help reduce swelling (corticosteroid ear drops)
  • Taking pain medicine
  • Keeping the ear dry, as directed by your provider

Your provider will give you instructions on how to use ear drops. Follow the instructions to be sure you get the right dose of medicine.

What are the complications of swimmer’s ear?

If left untreated, swimmer’s ear may cause other problems such as:

  • Hearing loss from a swollen and inflamed ear canal. Hearing usually returns to normal when the infection clears up.
  • Ear infections that keep coming back
  • Bone and cartilage damage
  • Infection spreading to nearby tissue, the skull, brain, or the nerves that start directly in the brain (cranial nerves)

What can I do to prevent swimmer’s ear?

To help prevent swimmer’s ear, try the following:

  • Keep your ears as dry as possible.
  • Use ear plugs when you are swimming or showering.
  • Don’t scratch or clean your ear canal with cotton swabs, your fingers, or other objects.

To dry your ears well after swimming or showering, try these tips:

  • Tilt your head to each side to help drain water out of your ears.
  • With your ear facing down, pull your earlobe in different directions. This will help drain water out.
  • Gently dry your ears with the edge of a towel.
  • Use a hair dryer on the lowest or coolest setting to gently dry your ears. Hold the dryer at least 12 inches from your head. Wave the dryer slowly back and forth. Don’t hold it still.

Your health care provider may recommend drops to help dry your ears.

Key points

  • It is a redness or swelling (inflammation), irritation, or infection of the outer ear canal.
  • When water stays in the ear canal, germs can grow. This causes an infection.
  • It is a painful condition that often affects children, and swimmers of all ages.
  • Swimming in unclean water is a common cause of swimmer’s ear.
  • With proper treatment, it often clears up in 7 to 10 days.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Swimmer’s ear – Better Health Channel

Swimmer’s ear is an infection or inflammation of the canal between the eardrum and the outer ear. This condition can be triggered by exposure to water, or mechanical damage due to overzealous cleaning. The infection can be caused by fungi or bacteria. Another name for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa.

The ear is made up of three different parts:

  • Outer ear – the part you can see
  • Middle ear – separated from the outer ear by the eardrum. The middle ear contains tiny bones that amplify sound waves
  • Inner ear – where sound waves are translated into electrical impulses and sent to the brain. It also houses the vestibular apparatus that controls position awareness and balance.

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear

Some of the symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Pain
  • The pain may be exacerbated by moving the head or pulling at the ear
  • Itchiness
  • Foul-smelling yellow or green pus in the ear canal
  • Reduced hearing
  • Noises inside the ear, such as buzzing or humming.

Causes of swimmer’s ear

Some of the causes and risk factors include:

  • Water – dirty water can deliver bacteria to the ear canal. A wet ear canal is also prone to dermatitis. Tiny cracks or splits in the skin can allow bacteria to enter.
  • Mechanical damage – attempts to clean the ears using fingernails, cotton buds or other objects may cut the delicate tissues of the ear canal and lead to infection.
  • Chemical irritation – hairsprays, shampoos and hair dyes may get into the ear canal and irritate the tissues.
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media) – an infection within the middle ear can trigger an infection or inflammation in the ear canal.
  • Diabetes – this condition can make earwax too alkaline, which creates a more hospitable environment for infectious agents.
  • Folliculitis – an infected hair follicle within the ear canal can trigger a generalised infection.
  • Narrow ear canals – some people’s ear canals are narrower than usual. This means that water can’t drain as effectively.

Complications of swimmer’s ear

Some of the possible complications of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Chronic otitis externa – infection persists, or else keeps recurring.
  • Narrowing of the ear canal – repeated infections can cause the ear canal to be narrowed by scar tissue. The risk of swimmer’s ear is increased if water can’t drain out properly. Narrow ear canals may also affect hearing.
  • Facial infection – the infection may escape the ear canal, down small holes in the surrounding cartilage, and lead to painful facial swelling.
  • Malignant otitis externa – the infection may spread to the bones and cartilage of the skull.

Malignant otitis externa is a dangerous complication

Malignant otitis externa is the spread of infection to the bones of the ear canal and lower part of the skull. This may cause structural damage in severe cases. Without treatment, the infection may reach the cranial nerves and the brain. People with reduced immunity or diabetes are at increased risk of this complication. Malignant otitis externa is a medical emergency. If you have swimmer’s ear and experience strange symptoms, such as dizziness or muscular weakness in your face, seek immediate medical help.

Diagnosis of swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is diagnosed by physical examination. The skin of the ear canal will appear red, scaled and peeling when examined using an otoscope. The eardrum may be inflamed and swollen. Microscopic examination of the discharge in the ear canal will, in most cases, tell the doctor whether the infection is caused by bacteria or fungi. The diagnosis can be confirmed by culturing a swab of pus. In the case of malignant otitis externa, further tests – including skull x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans – are taken. Treatment depends on the degree of bone infection (osteomyelitis), but is generally lengthy and involves prolonged courses of antibiotics. Surgery may also be necessary.

Treatment for swimmer’s ear

Treatment for swimmer’s ear depends on the severity of the infection and the type of infectious agent, but may include:

  • Thorough cleaning and drainage of the ear canal
  • Measures to keep the ear canal dry, such as using earplugs or a shower cap while bathing
  • Painkillers
  • Heat packs held to the ear
  • Anti-fungal preparations
  • Antibiotic ear drops
  • Steroid-based ear drops
  • A wick inserted into the ear canal to deliver medicated drops close to the eardrum
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Surgery, to treat and drain infected skull bones.

Prevention strategies

Suggestions to reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Avoid swimming in dirty or polluted waters.
  • Wear earplugs when you swim.
  • Dry your ears thoroughly after exposure to water.
  • To make sure that ear canals are completely dry, use a couple of drops of one part alcohol and one part vinegar in each ear.
  • Plug your ears with cotton wool when using hair spray, shampoo or other chemical products.
  • Don’t be too enthusiastic about cleaning your ears.
  • Avoid poking your fingers in your ears, because fingernails can cut the skin of the ear canal.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Ear specialist

Swimmer’s Ear in Children | Cedars-Sinai

Not what you’re looking for?

What is swimmer’s ear in children?

Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) is an inflammation of the external ear canal. Swimmer’s ear is caused by fungi or bacteria. Water that stays in the ear canal during swimming, for example, may let bacteria and fungi grow.

What causes swimmer’s ear in a child?

Many different things can make it more likely for your child to get swimmer’s ear. Swimming or being in other wet, humid conditions are common causes. Other possible conditions that may lead to the development of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Rough cleaning of the ear canal
  • Injury to the ear canal
  • Dry skin in the ear canal
  • Foreign object in the ear canal
  • Too much earwax
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and other kinds of dermatitis

Which children are at risk for swimmer’s ear?

Children are more likely to get swimmer’s ear if they:

  • Go swimming for long periods of time, especially in lake water. Less likely in appropriately maintained recreational pools or ocean.
  • Failure to remove excess moisture after swimming
  • Injury the ear canal, such as cleaning it too often or scratching it
  • Use hearing aids, earphones, or swimming caps
  • Have skin irritation from allergies or other skin conditions
  • Narrow ear canal

What are the symptoms of swimmer’s ear in a child?

Swimmer’s ear can cause the following symptoms:

  • Redness of the outer ear
  • Itching in the ear
  • Pain, especially when touching or wiggling the ear lobe
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Swollen ear canal
  • Muffled hearing or hearing loss
  • Full or plugged-up feeling in the ear

The symptoms of swimmer’s ear may look like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is swimmer’s ear diagnosed in a child?

Your child’s healthcare provider will ask questions about your child’s health history and current symptoms. He or she will examine your child, including the ears. The provider may use a lighted instrument called an otoscope to look in your child’s ear. This will help the provider know if there is also an infection in the middle ear called otitis media. Although this infection usually does not occur with swimmer’s ear, some children may have both types of infections.

Your child’s healthcare provider may also take a culture of the drainage from the ear to help figure out the best treatment.

How is swimmer’s ear treated in a child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Swimmer’s ear, when properly treated by a healthcare provider, usually clears up within 7 to 10 days. Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotic ear drops
  • Corticosteroid ear drops
  • Pain medicine
  • Keeping the ear dry

What are the possible complications of swimmer’s ear in a child?

Complications of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Temporary hearing loss from a swollen and inflamed ear canal
  • Ear infections that keep coming back
  • Bone and cartilage damage
  • Infection of the tissue around the ear 
  • Infections that spread from the ear to the bones of the head or skull

What can I do to prevent swimmer’s ear in my child?

The following are some tips to help prevent swimmer’s ear:

  • Use ear plugs for swimming or bathing.
  • Gently clean your child’s ear canal.
  • Dry ears well, especially after swimming.
  • Don’t use cotton swabs in the ears.

Another tip to help dry the ears is to use a hair dryer set to the low or cool setting. Hold the dryer at least 12 inches from your child’s head. Wave the dryer slowly back and forth. Don’t hold it still.

Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend drops to help dry the ears.

Key points about swimmer’s ear in children

  • Swimmer’s ear is also called otitis externa. It is an inflammation of the external ear canal.
  • Water that stays in the ear canal during swimming may let bacteria and fungi grow.
  • Swimmer’s ear usually clears up in 7 to 10 days when treated.
  • To help prevent swimmer’s ear, dry your child’s ears well after swimming or bathing. And gently clean your child’s ears.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.

Not what you’re looking for?

Ear Canal Infection (Swimmer’s Ear) – Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

  • Removal of infected debris from the ear canal and dry ear precautions

  • Ear drops containing white vinegar and corticosteroids

  • Sometimes ear drops containing antibiotics

  • Rarely antibiotics taken by mouth

To treat ear canal infection due to any cause, a doctor first removes the infected debris from the canal with suction or dry cotton wipes. After the ear canal is cleared, hearing often returns to normal.

Usually, a person with mild ear canal infection is given ear drops containing white vinegar and drops containing a corticosteroid such as hydrocortisone or dexamethasone to use several times a day for up to a week. White vinegar is helpful because bacteria do not grow as well once the normal acidity of the ear canal is restored.

With moderate or severe infection, antibiotic ear drops also are prescribed. If the ear canal is very swollen, a doctor inserts a small wick into the ear canal to allow the antibiotic/corticosteroid ear drops to penetrate. The wick is left in place for 24 to 72 hours, after which time the swelling may have gone down enough to allow the drops to go directly into the ear canal.

People who have severe acute external otitis (extends beyond the ear canal) may need to take antibiotics by mouth, such as cephalexin or ciprofloxacin.

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help reduce pain for the first 24 to 48 hours, until the inflammation begins to subside.

To treat fungal ear canal infection, doctors thoroughly clean the ear canal and insert antifungal ear drops. Repeated cleanings and treatments may be needed. Some doctors believe that a combination of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar is particularly effective in fungal external otitis. Rubbing alcohol dries the ear canal and white vinegar creates an acidic environment that does not allow fungus to grow as well.

For both bacterial and fungal infection, people should keep the ear dry by practicing dry ear precautions (such as wearing a shower cap and avoiding swimming) until the infection clears up. A blow dryer on a low setting can also be used to reduce the humidity and moisture in the canal.

Treatment of boils depends on how advanced the infection is. In an early stage of infection, a heating pad can be applied for a short time and pain relievers, such as oxycodone with acetaminophen, can be given to help relieve pain. The heat may also help speed healing. An antibiotic is given by mouth. A boil that has come to a head is cut open (incised) to drain the pus.

Understanding Swimmer’s Ear | UNC Health Talk

Swimmer’s ear peaks in the summer months, when people are more likely to go swimming, but you can get it without ever going in the water.

Each year, millions of people in the United States see a doctor or another health care provider to get treatment for a painful ear infection called acute otitis externa. You probably know it by its more popular name: swimmer’s ear.

This common condition happens to 10 percent of people at some point. Here’s what to know.

You Don’t Have to Swim to Get Swimmer’s Ear

The infection is usually caused by one of two types of bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus. Water left in the ear canal after swimming provides an environment that is favorable for these bacteria to grow, but there are other ways for the germs to take root in the ear, says Christine DeMason, MD, an ear, nose and throat physician at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.

Any water, sand or other debris that gets into the ear canal and stays there can cause the infection.

“Lots of people who get swimmer’s ear don’t go near the water,” Dr. DeMason says.

“Sometimes people try to clean their ears with cotton swabs. This can cause damage or irritation to the lining of the ear canal, and that gives bacteria a way to get in and cause an infection.”

That’s why doctors recommend that you never put any foreign objects, including cotton swabs or your fingers, inside your ears.

People who wear hearing aids are at risk of developing swimmer’s ear because hearing aids can break down the natural protective barrier of the skin and trap moisture. That doesn’t mean people who need hearing aids shouldn’t wear them, Dr. DeMason says; she simply recommends that people take them off when they aren’t using them, such as at night.

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Swimmer’s Ear

Some of the more common signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Itching inside the ear
  • Pain inside the ear that gets worse when you tug on the outer ear
  • Sensation that the ear is blocked or full
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Decreased hearing

In most cases, swimmer’s ear can be treated with a careful cleaning of the ear canal (which should be done by a health care professional) and prescription eardrops that inhibit bacterial or fungal growth and reduce inflammation. These drops often contain antibiotics and steroids. You may also be prescribed medication to reduce pain.

If your ear canal is swollen, your doctor might place an ear wick in the ear canal to help the drops reach their target. In rare cases, patients may also be given IV antibiotics if eardrops aren’t enough to clear the infection by themselves.

If left untreated, swimmer’s ear can lead to more serious problems, such as a deep tissue infection called cellulitis, or to bone and cartilage damage. That’s why you should always see your health care provider if you think you might have swimmer’s ear, Dr. DeMason says.

How to Reduce Your Risk

To reduce your risk of swimmer’s ear, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you keep your ears as dry as possible when swimming by wearing a bathing cap, earplugs or custom-fitted swim molds. You should also dry your ears thoroughly after swimming or showering. However, you should not try to use cotton swabs, or anything else, to remove your earwax, because earwax helps protect your ear against infection.

Your risk of swimmer’s ear is higher when you swim in natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes or the ocean, compared with swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool, Dr. DeMason adds. That’s because natural bodies of water are more likely to have higher levels of bacteria.

That doesn’t mean you should never swim in a natural body of water, she says, but if you want to reduce your risk of swimmer’s ear, a swimming pool is the safer option.

You can also use over-the-counter eardrops to help dry out your ears after swimming. They’re often called drying eardrops or swimming eardrops. But Dr. DeMason recommends that people make their own: Mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part white vinegar. Add a few drops to the ear when it’s wet.

For people with eczema, who are also prone to swimmer’s ear, the problem is the opposite: The skin is too dry, which can lead to infection in the ear canal. For these people, Dr. DeMason recommends mineral oil, which lubricates without water.

If you are experiencing symptoms that may be swimmer’s ear, call your primary care doctor or visit an urgent care location. If you have a persistent problem with swimmer’s ear, talk to your doctor about seeing an ENT specialist or a pediatric ENT specialist. Need a doctor? Find one near you.

Swimmer’s Ear

What is Swimmer’s Ear?

This is a classic case of swimmer’s ear, which is a manifestation of otitis externa.

All that is required for a long-lasting infection called swimmer’s ear is a pair of ears and dry moisture. Water constantly gets into the ears during swimming, showering, washing with shampoo. When people try to dry them with cotton swabs, the top layer of the skin is peeled off along with the protective bacteria. Then harmful bacteria are defeated and inflammation begins.

Swimmer’s ear begins with itching. If left untreated, the infection will worsen and pain will develop, which can become excruciating. This will require medical attention and antibiotics to suppress it.

How to protect yourself from ear pain after bathing?

With simple measures, you can prevent the development or worsening of ear pain after bathing or swimming:

Dry your ears

Remove moisture from your ears every time it gets there, whether or not you have otitis media.Pull the concha up and outward to align the ear canal, and blow air from the hair dryer into the ear from a distance of 45-50 cm. Set the control to the “cold” or “warm” level and let the hair dryer blow for 30 seconds. This will dry your ear by removing moisture that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Put on a hat and cover your ears

Telling an avid swimmer not to be in the water is like telling someone not to breathe. The perfect combination is a pair of earplugs and a cap that holds them in place.Most pharmacies have paraffin or silicone plugs. You can make your own reliable earplug. Spread the Vaseline on a cotton ball, and carefully tuck it like a cork directly into your ear, but shallowly. It will absorb any moisture, keeping the ear warm and dry. Keeping ears dry is especially important for people prone to ear infections. Remember to plug your ears when shampooing your hair or taking a shower.

Swim on the surface

Even if you currently have otitis externa (swimmer’s ear), you can continue to swim.Swim on the surface of the water with less water entering your ear than when diving.

Leave earwax alone

Earwax serves several purposes, including nourishing beneficial bacteria and protecting the ear canal from moisture. You don’t need to delete it.

Soothe pain with warmth

A warm towel straight from the dryer, a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth, and a heating pad in “warm” mode will also help soothe pain.

Use ear drops

Most pharmacies have ear drops that kill bacteria.If itchy ear is the only symptom, one of these medications should eliminate the threat of infection. Use them every time water gets into your ears.

Use pain relievers as a temporary measure

If you have ear pain, which indicates an infection, a remedy such as aspirin can help you manage the pain before you see a doctor.

Choose a place to swim

A closely watched pool is less likely to pick up bacteria than a pond.Don’t swim in dirty water.

If you wear a hearing aid

You can get otitis externa without even getting close to the water. The hearing aid has the effect of blocking the ear. When worn, moisture increases, which promotes the growth of harmful bacteria. Solution? Remove your hearing aid as often as possible to allow your ear to dry out.


  • Balch G., Heal C., Cervin A., Gunnarsson R. Oral corticosteroids for painful acute otitis externa (swimmer’s ear): A triple-blind randomized controlled trial.// Aust J Gen Pract – 2019 – Vol48 – N8 – p.565-572; PMID: 31370128
  • McKeirnan KC., Garrelts MacLean L. Pharmacist, physician, and patient opinions of pharmacist-treated minor ailments and conditions. // J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) – 2019 – Vol58 – N6 – p.599-607; PMID: 30266565
  • Ghanpur AD., Nayak DR., Chawla K., Shashidhar V., Singh R. Comparison of Microbiological Flora in the External Auditory Canal of Normal Ear and an Ear with Acute Otitis Externa. // J Clin Diagn Res – 2017 – Vol11 – N9 – p.MC01-MC04; PMID: 29207743
  • Amani S., Moeini M. Comparison of Boric Acid and Combination Drug of Polymyxin, Neomycin and Hydrocortisone (polymyxin NH) in the Treatment of Acute Otitis Externa. // J Clin Diagn Res – 2016 – Vol10 – N7 – p.MC01-4; PMID: 27630871
  • Nichols AW. Medical Care of the Aquatics Athlete. // Curr Sports Med Rep – 2016 – Vol14 – N5 – p.389-96; PMID: 26359841
  • Fischer M., Dietz A. [Acute external otitis and its differential diagnosis]. // Laryngorhinootologie – 2015 – Vol94 – N2 – p.113-25; quiz 126-8; PMID: 25658865
  • Gharaghani M., Seifi Z., Zarei Mahmoudabadi A. Otomycosis in iran: a review. // Mycopathologia – 2015 – Vol179 – N5-6 – p.415-24; PMID: 25633436
  • Hui CP. Acute otitis externa. // Paediatr Child Health – 2013 – Vol18 – N2 – p.96-101; PMID: 24421666
  • No authors found [Swimmer’s ear is in season. Summer, sun, pain in the ear]. // MMW Fortschr Med – 2013 – Vol155 – N14 – p.20; PMID: 24006582

Otitis Externa – Southern District of Nevada

Recreational Water Disease Protection (RWI)

What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s ear (ear pain) is an infection of the ear and / or ear canal.This can lead to itchy ear or redness and inflammation, so moving the head or touching the ear will be very painful. Pus can also drain from the ear.

What causes swimmer’s ear?

Swimmer’s ear is often caused by an infection with a microbe called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This microbe is common in the environment (soil, water) and is microscopic in size, so it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Although swimmer’s ear affects all age groups, it is more common in children and young adults and can be extremely painful.

How does swimmer’s ear spread?

If contaminated water gets into the ear, it can cause “Swimmer’s Ear” in people. Swimmer’s ear usually occurs within a few days after getting contaminated water or placing contaminated objects in the ear.

Is there a difference between childhood middle ear infection and swimmer’s ears?

Yes. Swimmer’s ear is not the same as a common childhood middle ear infection. If you can wiggle your outer ear without pain or discomfort, then the ear infection is not a swimmer’s ear infection.

Can swimmer’s ear be prevented?

Yes. Here are four healthy swimming tips to protect your swimmer’s ear:

  1. Dry your ears after swimming. If you find it difficult to get water out of your ear, apply a few drops of an alcohol-based ear product to your ear. Ask the pharmacist at your local pharmacy for this product.
  2. Ask your pool manager about your pool’s chlorine and pH testing program. Pools and hot tubs with good chlorine and pH control are unlikely to infect the Swimmer’s Ear.
  3. Pay attention to signs and avoid swimming in areas that are closed due to dirt.
  4. Avoid getting objects (eg fingers, cotton swabs) in your ear that can scratch the ear canal and become a source of infection.

If you think you have swimmer’s ear, talk to your doctor. Swimmer’s ear can be treated with antibiotics.

This fact sheet is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Swimming Factsheet for Swimmers.

Visit the CDC Healthy Swimming web page for more information.

What to do if a child has ear pain after swimming

Swimming is a useful sport that strengthens the muscle corset and hardens the body. Therefore, parents often take swimming lessons. But sometimes the little swimmer complains that his ear hurts after the pool. What to do in such cases?

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Causes of ear pain in a child

Contact with water is harmful to the ears – sulfur swells under the influence of water.Usually, in this case, the ear hurts from the fact that a plug has formed, and the inflammatory process begins. The main reasons for this are the residual fluid in the ear canal after diving, swimming and other water procedures.

After bathing

There may be water in the ear even after taking a bath or shower. Especially when the child is being washed, it is difficult to isolate the ear canals from the liquid. Therefore, immediately after bathing, you need to blot your ears with a towel, ask your child if he feels as if there is water in his ear.

After diving

When it is planned that the child will dive into a pool or pond, you need to tell him about the precautions. After submerging in water, he subjects his ears to a serious test – there is a pressure drop. If, moreover, water gets into the ear, it can remain there and provoke an inflammatory process.

After the pool

When water gets into your ears, dry it after exercise. Children often have ear pain after the pool, because water droplets remain there, and when the child goes outside, he blows it.As a result, otitis media and other inflammatory diseases!

Symptoms of water entering the ear

If water has flowed into your ear, you should try to find it and remove it as soon as possible. The longer it stays inside, the more serious the consequences can be.

Otitis media or “water got into the ear”

In this case, the process develops rapidly – the child went outside after the pool with wet ear canals. Then he goes home, often in windy weather, plus on the way he can “grab” an infection.The very next day, the consequences are not long in coming:

  • Feels pain in the ears
  • Decreased hearing, often unilaterally
  • Sound of water in the ear is felt, rolling
  • Fever rises, weakness and malaise appear

These conditions require immediate medical attention. Launched otitis media can harm the auditory system and even lead to more serious complications, such as inflammation of the meninges.

What is “swimmer’s ear”

In ENT practice, there is such a term as swimmer’s ear. It is associated with persistent irritation of the ear canal with water. Firstly, the water is not sterile and a huge number of different microorganisms get on the skin, and secondly, the constant moist environment in the ears creates favorable conditions for infectious processes. The disease is manifested by the following symptoms:

  • Redness of the outer ear
  • Itching in the ear canal
  • Permanent humid environment and ear wax swelling

The process is aggravated with the development of infection.Also, sometimes parents do the child a “disservice” by trying to clean the water and sulfur with cotton swabs. But instead of cleansing, they only push the moist masses inward, or injure delicate skin and provoke inflammation.

How to get rid of water in the ear

Parents of little swimmers are constantly concerned about how to get rid of water in their ears. Some of them already have their own tried-and-true tricks that make them great at home. But if the liquid has penetrated deeply, and a blockage has formed in the ear from water, you have to consult a doctor.

At home

The main thing to do is to wipe your ear after each visit to the pool. When picking up a child from the sports section, the parent must control this moment – take ordinary cotton pads with him and get the sink wet. It is also worth asking the child if he has a feeling that water has got into his ear and is standing at the back of the passage. If so, you need to be more proactive.

To dry the ear, a turunda with boric alcohol or other drugs is placed in the ear canal.You need to hold it for 15-20 minutes, then remove. If it does not help, it is worth contacting an otolaryngologist. If, when introducing a turunda, a child complains about what he bakes, it is better to remove the cotton wool. Boric alcohol is a safe drug, but individual skin tolerance and sensitivity must be taken into account.


It is worth contacting the ENT when it was not possible to clean your ears at home or if your ear hurts after the pool. The doctor will conduct an examination and prescribe the necessary measures. Often, the problem is solved by flushing with Janet’s syringe.This may sound strange – how does water help remove water? But the fact is that in these cases, if the ear hurts and lays down, it is not from the water itself, but from the swelling of sulfur inside it. Rinsing helps to clean everything thoroughly.

In some cases, the doctor prescribes drops and other medications. If an inflammatory process has formed, prescribes treatment for otitis media: antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy procedures.

How do I keep water out of my ears? Prevention

Parents of little swimmers often ask what to do if their ear hurts after swimming.However, the most correct answer is to avoid such situations at all. If you carefully monitor the hygiene of your child’s ears and dry them after swimming, there will be no problem. There are also additional means of protection – for example, earplugs.

Swimming earplugs

Special earplugs for swimming reliably protect the ear canal from water and pressure drops. At the same time, they allow you to hear voices and signals in the pool – the coach’s whistle, the voices of other swimmers. This is a win-win solution for those who want to visit the pool without risk of hearing damage! It is also important to note that they do not sink and are securely placed in the ear, because they are made according to an individual cast.

They are created from your ear cast to create the perfect fit and fit, which means they won’t fall out. The earplugs are made of high quality hypoallergenic material, and, importantly, they do not sink in water. Follow the link and learn more about custom earplugs! filling out and sending the registration form on the site;

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About the author:

Otolaryngologist (ENT) for children and adults

ENT doctor Mazanovich A.V. is engaged in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of inflammatory, allergic, degenerative processes in the ear, nose, pharynx and larynx.

Work experience:

4 years

Latest publications from the author

90,000 Purulent otitis media: description of the disease, causes, symptoms, cost of treatment in Moscow

Purulent otitis media is a disease when there is inflammation of the epithelial tissues in the canal of the middle or inner ear, in which a purulent exudate is formed.In the absence of therapy, there is a high risk of developing severe complications, which can even lead to death. Self-medication for pathology is strictly prohibited due to the high risk of dangerous consequences. The defeat can be unilateral or bilateral.

The disease is infectious in nature and appears against the background of penetration of the pathogen into the ear canal at the time of a decrease in the activity of immunity. In an acute form, the disease develops rapidly, and if it is not treated, it can turn into a chronic one.In addition, the chronic form can also arise as an independent disease, and then it starts in most cases even in childhood.


After the penetration of the pathogen into the ear, the disease begins to develop sharply. Most often, the condition is preceded by advanced inflammation in the nasal cavity or pharynx. Acute purulent otitis media has 3 stages of development:

  • catarrhal – the inflammation begins to progress. Exudate only accumulates in the ear, and the first symptoms of the disease appear.Pain arising in the ear, sharp, radiating to the temple and occiput, and less often the teeth. Also during this period, there is a significant decrease in hearing. Examination reveals hyperemia and protrusion of the tympanic membrane and significant dilation of blood vessels. The duration of the period is from 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on the characteristics of the patient’s body;

  • purulent form – during this period, the eardrum breaks through (which is called perforation of the membrane), and purulent contents are poured out through the ear canal.The protrusion of the tympanic membrane is reduced. At the same time, the pain syndrome decreases, but if the outflow of pus worsens, the symptoms begin to increase again;

  • abatement of inflammation – the inflammation begins to subside, the separation of pus decreases and gradually completely disappears. During this period, the patient only complains of decreased hearing.

At the last stage of the disease, complete recovery occurs if the therapy was correct, or the transition of pathology to a chronic form in the case when the treatment was completely absent or was carried out incorrectly, with significant errors.


With such a violation, the parts of the middle ear are affected. The disease in this case has periods of exacerbation (relapses) and remission. Perforation of the tympanic membrane with this form of the disease is persistent and does not heal. For this reason, there is a gradual decrease in hearing, and in advanced cases, up to complete deafness.

As an independent disease, chronic purulent otitis media is not common. In this case, its development begins in childhood.The disease is provoked by the influence of staphylococci, pneumococci or pseudomonas. This disease is severe. Doctors divide it into two forms:

  • mesotympanitis – inflammation extends only to the mucous membrane of the auditory tube and eardrum. The site of perforation in this form is in the center of the membrane;

  • epitympanitis – in addition to the mucous membrane, inflammation also captures the bone tissues of the mastoid process and attico-antral region.The site of the rupture of the membrane is located in its upper part. The particular danger of this form of the disease is that it can often progress and lead to the development of a number of severe complications, such as brain abscess, encephalitis, meningitis and sepsis.

Therapy of this form of pathology is required from its very first manifestations. What measures will be required in a particular case is determined by the attending physician. Home treatment on your own is extremely dangerous.

Forms of the disease

Doctors distinguish three forms of purulent otitis media. The classification is based on which part of the ear is affected by the inflammation. The correct definition of the form of pathology is necessary for the appointment of effective therapy in each case.

1. Purulent otitis externa. With this disorder, inflammation affects the outer ear. A purulent process can develop due to the accumulation of water in the ear canal, damage to it, or trauma to the outer ear.Pathology is rare. The most susceptible to it are those who are in the water in large quantities, professional swimmers and those who often visit the pool or take a shower with their heads.

2. Purulent otitis media. The most common form of pathology. In this case, the disease covers the area of ​​the middle ear.

3. Purulent internal otitis media. Most often it appears as a complication of the advanced form of otitis media. The disease is not very common. It refers to dangerous pathologies that tend to give complications that pose a threat to life.

Treatment of the disease largely depends on its form.


There are many reasons why purulent otitis media develops. Because of this, such a purulent lesion is not uncommon. Pathology is especially often diagnosed in childhood, when the immunity is not yet strong enough to resist the causative agents of inflammation. As the main provocateurs of the disease, doctors call:

  • viral infections affecting the nasopharynx area – most often otitis media develops against the background of acute respiratory viral infections, acute respiratory infections or flu;

  • diseases of the upper respiratory system in acute or chronic form – with them, the infection penetrates into the middle ear through the auditory tube from the nasopharynx;

  • inflammatory diseases of the pharynx – the spread of infection occurs in the same way as in diseases of the respiratory system;

  • ear injuries.

Significantly increases the likelihood of the development of pathology and the presence of special predisposing factors that lead to a decrease in the activity of the immune system and do not allow the body to give a sufficient rebuff to the pathogen. The main reasons that increase the risk of developing purulent otitis media are as follows:

  • disorders in the structure of the middle ear;

  • conditions in which there is a deficiency of immunity;

  • lack of vitamins in the body;

  • tendency to frequent allergic reactions;

  • violation of ear hygiene rules;

  • improper, monotonous or poor nutrition;

  • old age;

  • severe hypothermia;

  • chronic lack of sleep;

  • chronic stress;

  • chronic overwork.

The likelihood of the appearance of purulent inflammation increases significantly in the presence of provoking factors.


When therapy is started at the first manifestations of the disease, the prognosis for the patient is positive. In this case, it is possible not only to eliminate the disease, but also to restore hearing. If the treatment is delayed, the prognosis of a neglected disease is serious, since the restoration of hearing in full is impossible.In the presence of complications, depending on which of them occur, the prognosis can be from serious to poor.


Prevention, together with the correct lifestyle, greatly contributes to the prevention of the onset of the disorder. Doctors call the most effective ways to protect against it:

  • complete and timely treatment of diseases of the pharynx;

  • complete and timely treatment of nasal diseases;

  • refusal from self-medication, especially with the use of antibiotics;

  • hypothermia warning;

  • compliance with the rules of ear hygiene;

  • Drying the ear canal with a cotton turunda when water gets in.

In many cases, it is the preventive measures that help protect against the appearance of ear inflammation.

Has your hearing deteriorated? Perhaps it’s all about the sulfuric plug?

IN TOGBUZ “GKB im. Arch. Luke Tambov ”opened the first working week of the new year with a regular lesson at the School of Practical Skills.

It was dedicated to sulfur plugs and their removal. It must be admitted that sulfur plugs are a common situation in everyday life.For a long time, until this conglomerate, consisting of the secretion product of special ear glands, does not block the ear canal, a person does not even know what kind of discomfort this can result in. We begin to notice the plug in the ear when the accumulation of sulfur increases either by itself, blocking the passage for air and sounds, or when water gets into the ear, causing the conglomerate to swell. Then we notice that we began to hear poorly in one ear, feeling congestion in it, our own voice suddenly begins to sound “like from a barrel”, dizziness and nausea may appear.

The first reaction to this situation is to try to clear your ear yourself. Either with cotton swabs, or any of the thick instruments. But this is a bad idea: in this way you can only push the conglomerate even further, where the diameter of the passage is even narrower. Removing the sulfur plug at home is possible only by dissolving it with such means as 3% hydrogen peroxide or the like. It is better for a child not to risk removing the accumulation of sulfur on his own, but to visit an ENT doctor, since in childhood the reasons for the formation of such conglomerates are different, and otitis media and even perforation of the tympanic membrane may well appear under the plug.

After washing out the compressed sulfur with a warm solution of sodium chloride, furacillin, dioxidin or warm boiled water (if washing was done at home), hearing will not return to normal immediately. Temporarily after this procedure, there will be a feeling of congestion, which will pass later.

It is worth understanding why sulfur plugs arise and whether it is possible to get rid of them once and for all. It is unlikely that it will be possible to solve the problem by simply washing the sulfur plugs – you need to remove the conditions provoking it, otherwise it will form again and again.And this, undoubtedly, negatively affects the quality of life.

So, it is necessary to know, and not only for narrow specialists, what provokes the compression of the secretion of the sulfur glands and the blockage of the ear canal by such factors as:

– Incorrect ear hygiene. This is the most common cause of sulfur buildup, especially in children.

Improper hygiene means: frequent irritation of the skin of the ear canal with an ear stick or hard improvised means, which further increases serum formation; pushing sulfur deep into the ear canal with cotton swabs, matches, rods, pins.

You need to clean your ears no more than 2 times a week and you need to do this by simply blotting your ear washed under water with a clean napkin or towel.

– Genetic predisposition. It can consist of one of the following factors:
– a more viscous composition of the secretion of the sulfur glands, inherited, will accelerate the process of clogging the ear canal;
– genetically programmed narrowness or excessive tortuosity of the ear canal will also contribute to the accumulation of sulfur;
– the growth of a large amount of hair in the ear canal contributes to the formation of sulfur plugs;
– sometimes it is inherited;
– if sulfur is formed of a normal consistency, but a lot of it is secreted, it can also be compressed into a conglomerate – a sulfur plug.

– High humidity or frequent ingress of water (for example, by divers or swimmers) in the ears lead to the swelling of the amount of sulfur that the body has prepared to go outside.

If you recognize yours in this situation, you need to take care to remove the sulfur plug as soon as possible: conditions of high humidity are created between the eardrum and the conglomerate, in which microbes that enter the water quickly multiply.

Factors such as long-term presence of a person in an area with frequent changes in atmospheric pressure contribute to the formation of traffic jams – this is due to fluctuations in the tympanic membrane, which ultimately contributes to the compaction of sulfuric secretion; old age, when sulfur plugs are formed due to deterioration of ear hygiene, as well as more viscous secretions.

Experts consider frequent inflammatory ear diseases, when the viscosity and pH of sulfur change, as risk factors for the occurrence of sulfur plugs; work in dusty production, high blood cholesterol, skin diseases.

For the sake of fairness, it must be said that the presence of a sulfur plug in the ear does not always affect the quality of hearing – a sulfur plug can reach large sizes and not cause any disturbances. If at least a narrow gap remains between the wall of the ear canal and the cerumen, the hearing remains normal.But it is enough to get a small amount of water into the ear under these conditions (for example, when washing your hair, in a bath, etc.), as a sudden sharp decrease in hearing occurs – a swollen plug closes a small gap in the ear canal.

If you suddenly feel congestion in the ear, autophony is observed, then there is no particular reason to worry about deteriorating health – these symptoms create only a certain amount of discomfort.

If the cerumen plug in the ear is close to the eardrum and puts pressure on it, then symptoms such as noise and pain in the ears appear; reflex cough; dizziness.And this is a signal that you should not ignore this state of the body. The fact is that with prolonged pressure on the ear canal and eardrum, neuralgia may occur, the innervation of the muscles of closely located organs may be disturbed, the symptoms of dizziness and tinnitus may increase.

Sulfur plugs can be easily identified using otoscopy. The lumen of the ear canal is closed with a red-brown or dark brown mass. Probing determines the soft or dense consistency of the cork.

Treatment consists in washing out the sulfur plug with warm water. Before proceeding to flushing the plug, it is necessary to establish whether there was suppuration from the ear, after which a dry perforation of the eardrum could remain. In such cases, washing the ear can cause an exacerbation of the process and the resumption of suppuration. Then it is better to remove the plug with a curved hook or ear spoon. Rinsing should be done with water at a temperature of 37 °, so as not to cause irritation of the vestibular apparatus and associated discomfort for the patient (dizziness, nausea, vomiting, etc.).etc.).

With sufficient jet force, the sulfur plug is washed out in whole or in parts in separate small lumps. After washing, the ear canal is dried with cotton wool wrapped around the probe.

If it is not possible to remove the sulfur plug by repeated washing, then it must be softened by pouring alkaline drops warmed to a temperature of about 37 ° into the ear for 10-15 minutes for 2-3 days.

After the infusion of drops, as a result of swelling of the plug, even more ear plugging may occur, which should be warned about the patient.

In diseases of the skin of the external auditory canal, significant sloughing of the epidermis is often observed and the so-called epidermoid plug is formed, which has a dense consistency and is closely glued to the walls of the ear canal. If experience is available, the epidermal plug is removed with a blunt hook or by washing out after preliminary instillation of salicylic alcohol.

To prevent the formation of a plug, you should point out to patients about the harm of removing sulfur with hairpins, the tip of a rolled towel, since the earwax is pushed deep into the ear canal.In addition, attempts to remove wax with sharp objects can injure the walls of the ear canal and the eardrum.

ENT diseases


What is it? Otitis media is an inflammation of the ear. There are three types of otitis media, depending on which department is inflamed: external, middle and internal otitis media (labyrinthitis). Otitis media get sick at any age, more often children. Up to 3 years of age, 80% of children have at least one episode of otitis media. Why does this happen? The development of external otitis media is facilitated by two main factors: the introduction of infection with a sharp object (hairpin, toothpick), the ingress and accumulation of moisture in the external auditory canal.Otitis externa usually occurs when the ear is in frequent contact with water (during swimming), which is why it is sometimes called “swimmer’s ear”. Otitis media is preceded by an upper respiratory tract infection (runny nose, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, tracheitis, laryngitis). Infection with otitis media enters the inner ear (cochlea) in various ways. Through the middle ear – with purulent inflammation, through the meninges – with meningitis, through the blood – with various infections. What’s happening? With otitis externa, patients develop ear pain, aggravated by pulling on the auricle.

Soreness when opening the mouth is observed when the boil is localized on the anterior wall. In acute diffuse otitis externa, patients complain of itching and pain in the ear, purulent discharge with an unpleasant odor. Acute otitis media is usually accompanied by a worsening of the general condition. The temperature rises to 38-39 C, severe pains appear in the ear in the corresponding half, hearing is significantly reduced. Shooting pain in the ear can be very unbearable, which often requires urgent help.Then, as a result of a ruptured eardrum, suppuration from the ear is noted. At the same time, the pain subsides, the temperature decreases, the general well-being improves. In the future, with a favorable course of the disease, suppuration stops, the eardrum is overgrown, and the state of health is normalized.

However, hearing loss may persist. Otitis media (labyrinthitis) is most often a complication of chronic otitis media. The onset of the disease is most often accompanied by tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, balance disorder, hearing loss.With an unfavorable course of the disease with the accumulation of pus in the inner ear, complete hearing loss usually occurs. Diagnosis When these symptoms appear, it is necessary to consult an otolaryngologist. The patient takes blood from a finger for a clinical blood test. An x-ray of the temporal sinuses and an audiogram are performed. Otitis media, like any inflammatory disease, must be treated to avoid the spread of the process. It is necessary to visit a doctor immediately if ear pain occurs and if it has not disappeared after two days.Otitis media usually lasts ten days. Subject to correctly selected therapy and carefully performed prescriptions, the disease does not affect hearing acuity. SINUSITIS: sinusitis, frontal sinusitis, ethmoiditis, sphenoiditis What is it? Sinusitis is a group of diseases characterized by inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. There are sinusitis – inflammation of the mucous membrane of the maxillary (maxillary) sinus, frontal sinusitis – inflammation of the frontal sinus, ethmoiditis – inflammation of the ethmoid labyrinth and sphenoiditis – inflammation of the sphenoid sinus.The disease can be unilateral or bilateral, involving one sinus in the process or affecting all paranasal sinuses on one or both sides – the so-called pansinusitis. Sinusitis can develop at any age. Why does this happen? Sinusitis often occurs during acute rhinitis, flu, measles, scarlet fever and other infectious diseases, as well as due to root disease of the four posterior upper teeth. Frontitis and ethmoiditis have the same causes as in inflammation of the maxillary sinus.Frontitis is much more severe than inflammation of the other paranasal sinuses.

Acute ethmoiditis with damage to the bone walls is observed mainly in scarlet fever. Sphenoiditis is rare and is usually associated with a disorder of the posterior cells of the ethmoid labyrinth. What’s happening? With sinusitis, there is a feeling of tension or pain in the affected sinus, impaired nasal breathing, nasal discharge, a disorder of smell on the affected side, photophobia and lacrimation. The pain is often diffuse, vague, or localized in the forehead, temple and occurs at the same time of the day.The body temperature is elevated, chills often occur. In frontal disease, patients are concerned about pain in the forehead, especially in the morning, impaired nasal breathing and discharge from the corresponding half of the nose. The pain is often unbearable. In severe cases, eye pain, photophobia, and decreased sense of smell. The headache subsides after the sinus is emptied and returns as the outflow becomes difficult. In acute influenza frontitis, the body temperature is elevated, sometimes the color of the skin over the sinuses is changed, there is swelling and swelling in the forehead and upper eyelid.With ethmoiditis, a headache, pressing pain in the area of ​​the root of the nose and the bridge of the nose, is disturbing. The discharge is at first serous and then purulent. The sense of smell is sharply reduced, nasal breathing is significantly hampered. The body temperature is increased.

  • Sphenoiditis headache complaints. Most often, it is localized in the region of the crown, in the depths of the head and occiput, orbit. In chronic lesions, pain is felt in the region of the crown, and with large sinuses, it can spread to the back of the head. Sometimes patients complain of a rapid decrease in vision.Diagnosis in the presence of these symptoms should be consulted by an otolaryngologist. The main research method for sinusitis is X-ray of the sinuses, diaphanoscopy. In the absence of treatment, acute processes can turn into chronic ones, abscesses and meningitis can develop.


What are adenoids? Adenoids are the formation of lymphoid tissue that forms the basis of the nasopharyngeal tonsil. The nasopharyngeal tonsil is located in the nasopharynx, so this tissue is not visible during normal examination of the pharynx.In order to examine the nasopharyngeal tonsil, special ENT instruments are required. Adenoids, or more correctly, adenoid vegetations (adenoid enlargements) are a widespread disease among children from 1 year to 14-15 years old.

This disease most often occurs between the ages of 3 and 7 years. Currently, there is a tendency to identify adenoids in children of an earlier age. What can the presence of adenoids in a child lead to? Hearing impairment due to changes in the normal physiology of the middle ear Normally, the difference between external atmospheric pressure and internal pressure in the middle ear cavity is regulated by the auditory (Eustachian) tube.The enlarged nasopharyngeal tonsil blocks the mouth of the auditory tube, making it difficult for air to flow freely into the middle ear. As a result, the eardrum loses its mobility, which affects the auditory sensations. Frequent colds A condition for the normal physiology of the nasal cavity is free nasal breathing. Normally, the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses produces mucus, which “cleans” the nasal cavity from bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing factors.If the child has an obstacle to the air flow in the form of adenoids, the outflow of mucus is hampered, and favorable conditions are created for the development of infection and the occurrence of inflammatory diseases. Other diseases, allergies Adenoids, making nasal breathing difficult, not only contribute to the onset of inflammatory diseases, but in themselves are a good environment for bacteria and viruses to attack. Therefore, the tissue of the nasopharyngeal tonsil, as a rule, is in a state of chronic inflammation. Microbes and viruses get “permanent registration” in it.A so-called focus of chronic infection arises, from which microorganisms can spread throughout the body. Decreased activity and learning ability It has been proven that with difficulty in nasal breathing, the human body loses up to 12-18% oxygen. Therefore, a child suffering from nasal breathing difficulties due to adenoids has a constant lack of oxygen, and, above all, the brain suffers. Violations of the development of speech in the presence of adenoids in the child, the growth of the bones of the facial skeleton is disturbed.This, in turn, can adversely affect the formation of speech. The child does not pronounce individual letters, constantly speaks in the nose (nasal). Moreover, parents often do not notice these changes, as they “get used” to the pronunciation of the child. Inflammatory diseases of the middle ear have already been noted that the growth of adenoids disrupts the physiology of the middle ear, since adenoid growths block the mouth of the auditory tube. In addition, in this situation, unfavorable conditions are created for the penetration and development of infection in the middle ear.Inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract with the growth of adenoid tissue, chronic inflammation develops in it. This leads to the fact that mucus or pus is constantly produced, which, under the influence of gravity, descend into the lower parts of the respiratory system, and, passing along their mucous membrane, cause inflammatory processes – pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx), laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), tracheitis ( inflammation of the trachea) and bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchi).

These are only the most noticeable and frequent disorders that occur in a child’s body in the presence of adenoid vegetations.In fact, the spectrum of pathological changes that cause adenoids is much wider. This should include changes in the composition of the blood, disorders of the development of the nervous system, enuresis, impaired renal function, etc. As a rule, one of these symptoms is enough to establish a diagnosis and provide adequate treatment. Therefore, if you find one of the listed signs in your child, do not hesitate to contact an ENT doctor. Of course, a person is able to live with adenoids all his life, and such cases are known to specialists.But, as it is already becoming clear, a complex of various complications can significantly affect the quality of such a life.


What is it? The word angina comes from the Latin “ango” – to squeeze and choke. And although no one has died of suffocation during the sore throat, the name stuck not only among doctors, but also among patients. The second name of the disease – “tonsillitis” is more logical, it means “inflammation of the tonsils.” Indeed, under sore throat and mean inflammation of the tonsils, resulting from an acute infectious disease.Angina affects everyone from small to large, but mostly young children and adults under 30 years old suffer. The surge in diseases occurs in spring and autumn. The reason for a person to get sick is that an infectious agent must enter his body. A whole army of pathogens can cause a sore throat: bacteria (round, spiral and rod-shaped), viruses and fungi. However, most often the cause of the disease is the round bacterium beta-hemolytic group A streptococcus, a little less often staphylococcus (also round).The infection can come from the outside and from the inside. In the first case, a sick person is its source. When he coughs or sneezes, pathogens scatter and infect healthy people. You can get infected not only by being near the patient, but also through common dishes, linen and a towel. The internal source of sore throat is foci of chronic infection: caries, sore gums, chronic rhinitis. If these bacteria leave their homes, the result can be inflammation of the tonsils.

The predisposing factors in the development of angina are hypothermia or overheating, dusty atmosphere, decreased immunity, mechanical trauma to the tonsils.Increased smoking, alcohol intake provoke angina. What’s happening? Once in the human body, bacteria settle in the palatine tonsils, they are also called glands, and begin their destructive activity. Signs of the disease appear 5-7 days after infection. Inflammation with angina is infectious and allergic in nature, that is, both microbes and the patient’s own immune system are involved in the development of the disease. Depending on the degree of damage to the tonsils, catarrhal (superficial) sore throat, lacunar (deeper) and follicular (very deep) sore throat are distinguished.Why is it dangerous? Angina can cause severe complications from the heart (myocarditis), joints (rheumatism), and kidney (nephritis). In addition, an abscess (abscess) may form around the tonsils, and in particularly severe cases, blood poisoning (sepsis) may occur. How to recognize? Angina usually starts abruptly. All of a sudden, there is a feeling of dryness and sore throat. Then the throat begins to hurt, so much so that it is difficult not only to eat solid food, but also to swallow liquid. The temperature rises, especially in children (up to 38-40 degrees).General weakness, malaise, headache, limb aches are noted. The lymph nodes in the neck become painful and enlarged. If you take a mirror and look into your mouth, you can see that the tonsils are reddened and enlarged. With purulent sore throat, they are covered with yellowish vesicles. The disease lasts three to seven days. If there are no complications, the disease goes away, although the temperature can persist for a long time. Diagnostics if you suspect a sore throat, you must definitely go to a therapist or an ENT doctor.It is very important to diagnose correctly and on time, because angina is a serious disease that can cause complications. In addition, it can often be confused with the even more severe illness of diphtheria. During the examination, the doctor will examine the patient’s throat, listen to his complaints, prescribe a blood and urine test, and take a throat swab for diphtheria.

Hearing loss

What is it? Hearing loss is a symptom that speaks of damage to either the sound-receiving department or the sound-conducting one.From about 60 years of age, almost everyone has a hearing impairment. After 70 years, a further steady decline in hearing begins. Why does this happen? There is at least one factor that leads to hearing loss prior to the onset of age-related disorders.

This factor is prolonged exposure to high noise. Indeed, with repeated exposure to noise, measured by a large number of decibels, for example, engine noise, the sounds of shots from firearms or percussion instruments of modern orchestras, the sensitive nerve endings of the eardrum, thanks to which a person is able to hear, die off.It is not surprising that a ruptured eardrum causes temporary hearing loss. A ruptured eardrum can occur for a variety of reasons. These include severe ear infections and sports, when the ear is exposed to severe pressure drops, such as diving, skydiving and lifting weights. Certain medical conditions also lead to hearing loss. These are rheumatoid arthritis, syphilis, Meniere’s disease and otosclerosis. In some people, hearing loss can occur due to the use of some very strong antibiotics, for example, from the aminoglycoside group.Not all hearing loss is irreversible. Indeed, in some cases, hearing is restored after very simple treatment. So, sometimes in children it is possible to establish a relationship between hearing loss and finding a foreign object in the ear. These can be items such as pieces of rubber or paper. Other causes of hearing loss include water entering swimmers’ ears, earwax and otitis media. Hearing loss in this disease is associated with the accumulation of a large amount of fluid behind the eardrum.What’s happening? With a hearing loss, a person begins to hear worse, however, others often join this symptom, which allow to establish the cause of the hearing loss.

Diagnosis in case of hearing loss, the patient should consult an otolaryngologist. Hearing function needs to be assessed to determine the causes of hearing loss. which requires the analysis of acumetric and audiological indicators, among which it is obligatory to carry out tuning fork tests, to record a tonal threshold audiogram.An additional, more informative method to clarify the type of hearing loss is audiometry performed in the frequency range over 8000 Hz. It is necessary to include impedance measurement in the examination plan for patients with hearing loss. An important component of the examination of patients with hearing loss is the study of the vestibular apparatus, including the analysis of the results of a rotational test, stabilography.

“If after diving in the pool your ears hurt and you feel pressure on your ears

There are two main reasons why your ear hurts after diving in the pool or the sea.

  1. One of them is the pressure difference. When we dive under water, more pressure begins to act on us than that which acts on us on land. When a person dives or dives under water, the areas of the hearing organ are subjected to pressure drops. The eardrum is under great stress, since the density of the medium literally pushes it towards the inner ear. Under the action of water pressure, the membrane bends inward, stretches. This causes pain in the ears when diving under water.

  2. The second reason is otitis externa – an acute inflammatory disease that affects the auricle and the tissues of the external auditory canal.

This diagnosis is often made to people who are somehow connected with swimming (the disease is also called “swimmer’s ear”). For swimmers or divers, water constantly enters their ears, which contributes to the penetration of infections.

In swimmers, with prolonged contact with water, a diffuse form of the disease is most often encountered, when the entire outer ear is affected.

Symptoms of otitis externa:

  • Pain in the ear;
  • feeling of fullness;
  • congestion in the ear;
  • itching in the ear canal;
  • white plaque in the ear canal (if the causative agent of otitis media is fungi)
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • body temperature may rise.

Otitis externa is treated by an otolaryngologist.

Complex therapy of otitis externa is aimed at eliminating infection, stopping the inflammatory process, relieving unpleasant symptoms and strengthening the immune system.

The treatment regimen for otitis externa may include:

  • antibacterial drops (Anauran, Sofradex, Ciprofarm)
  • antiseptic drugs that are instilled into the ear canal
  • oral antibiotics (Augmentin, Amoxiclav and etc.)
  • anti-inflammatory and analgesic drops (Otipax or Otinum)
  • pain relievers (Pentalgin, Nurofena, etc.)
  • antipyretic drugs
  • antihistamines to relieve puffiness (Suprastin, Zodak “,” Tavegil “and others.