Ear Canal

Ear Canal Infections

What is it?

Otitis externa is the medical name for an inflammation of the ear canal, most often caused by an invasion of bacteria and/or fungi.  A common term also used is Swimmer’s Ear.  Ear infections are one of the most common ear conditions. They can be extremely troublesome and/or recurrent if basic wound care is not followed.

How to treat the infection

Ear drops are required to kill an ear infection. There are 3 different groups of bacteria/fungi. There is not one drop that will kill them all.

What TOLBECS will do to help

  • Clean and assess the ear canal – check that the ear drum is intact (no perforation)
  • Report our findings to your GP
  • We may recommend a particular ear drop
  • We may take a swab for you to drop off to your GP
  • Teach you about your ear condition

What you can do to help yourself

  • See our other pages Ear Care & How to Put Ear Drops In
  • Make an appointment with your GP for treatment to be prescribed
  • Use drops as prescribed and finish the whole course, even if your ear is feeling better
  • Keep your ear dry – no shower water, soap, or shampoo should enter the ear
  • Do not scratch or poke inside your ear canal
  • If your ear is not getting better, gets worse, or just does not feel right, come back for a reassessment

Factors that may lead to infection

  • Ears that constantly stay wet – shower/bath, shampoo, swimming, surfing, diving, sweating
  • A build-up of wax
  • Damage to the ear canal skin – Poking or scratching with any object
  • Skin conditions – flaking skin, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis

Signs of infection

  • Irritation
  • Itchiness
  • Feels or sounds squelchy
  • Crusting at the entrance
  • Pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Discharge
  • Unpleasant smell coming from the ear
  • Reduced hearing


Ear trouble? Book an appointment now!