In general terms otitis externa (commonly called swimmers ear) is an inflammation of the skin of the auditory canal. This is usually a primary infection, but can occur as the result of
Classic features of Otitis Externa:
- Significant pain with tenderness on manipulation of the pinna
- Swelling of the canal and hearing loss
- Non-mucoid discharge
- Usually an history of water exposure and/or trauma to the skin of the ear canal.
- Pseudomonas aueroginosa
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Gram negative rods such as Klebsiella and E.Coli
- Fungi are responsible for approximately 10% of cases with Aspergillus species the most prominent.
Note the severe swelling causing occlusion of the external auditory canal, with only a minimal degree of discharge seen.
Note the localised abscess formation. Whilst most OE is generalised less commonly a furuncle can form in association with a hair follicle.
Aspergillus niger otitis externa.