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 to treat if the basic rules are not followed.

How to kill the 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 on behalf of 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, then 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!