Swimmer’s Ear | Otitis Externa
With the arrival of summer, summer activities starts on full swing, including regular swimming, diving and more active water sports such as water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. While much attention is directed to safety in and on the water, At Sri Onkar Eye & ENT Care Centre we see water-related ear problems every year, most of which are entirely unavoidable and random. It can be confusing as a patient trying to decide whether an ear needs to be seen and how quickly that is necessary. At Sri Onkar Eye & ENT Care Centre we have highly experience doctor Dr. Rishi Gautam Aggarwal handles several Swimmer’s Ear cases every year and cure patients. We have the most advanced technology to handle such patients.
Otitis externa (“swimmer’s ear”), is easily the most frequently seen ENT problem related to water activities. It accounts for numerous office visits in a specialty ENT practice, as well as in primary care offices and urgent care centers. Pain in the ear (often quite severe) with blockage and often drainage are hallmarks of this problem. The ear is often exquisitely sensitive to pressure or pulling on the visible outside portion of the ear. While this condition often responds well to antibiotic eardrops, especially when discovered early in its course, it can occasionally be difficult to resolve and may require careful cleaning with an ENT specialist employing a microscope. It is essentially a localized infection in and on the skin of the ear canal, and it can involve bacteria or fungi. Rarely, additional preventive measures may be recommended, such as preventive drops or earplugs, but that is not routinely required.
With diving, body surfing and high-speed activities such as water skiing, traumatic water injuries (especially to the ear drum) can occur, and we see and treat them regularly. The surface of a body of water (pool, lake or ocean) can effectively “slap” the ear when someone lands wrong, especially at greater speeds or from greater heights, and send a pressure wave toward the eardrum, which can injure it. This does not always produce a perforation or hole in the eardrum, but often it does. If an injury of this type is associated with lingering alteration of hearing, pain or drainage beyond 24 hours, it is wise to be seen by an ENT specialist for a careful examination of the ears, often including an audiogram. The vast majority of injured eardrums will heal on their own and do not require any treatment; however, the drum will occasionally require attention at the time of injury to avoid failed healing and a bigger procedure later.
A similar blow to the ear with associated significant dizziness can represent a far more serious condition requiring immediate attention. While mild disorientation and brief dizziness may seem normal after wiping out on a wakeboard or with similar incidents, any severe and persistent dizziness should be evaluated as promptly as possible, to be certain a potentially dangerous injury behind the eardrum has not occurred. Fortunately, these more severe episodes are far less frequent.