Many people think that swimmer’s ear can only affect swimmers because of its name. But this isn’t the case as it can affect men, women and children. Fortunately, it’s among the most treatable ear infections, especially when early diagnosis can be made.
Infection in the Outer Ear
Swimmer’s ear is known as such because it most commonly affects swimmers. In both swimmers and non-swimmers alike, nonetheless, it refers to an infection of the outer ear structures particularly in the ear canal.
It usually happens when water becomes trapped in the ear canal resulting in the growth of bacteria and, thus, in the infection. Emphasis must be made that the bacteria normally inhabit the skin in general and the ear canal in particular. But in a moist environment, these pathogens can multiply leading to the infection.
When left untreated, swimmer’s ear can actually progress to the outer ear. Your doctor will then treat both parts of the ear so as to clear up the infection.
Ear Becomes Affected
The common symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:
In many cases, the outer ear appears to be pushed away or forward from the skull. When you have many of these symptoms, you should see your doctor as a medical evaluation is a must for a definitive diagnosis.
Tools of Diagnosis
The diagnostic evaluation usually involves the following:
Your doctor may also use other diagnostic measures, such as laboratory tests. You may even be referred to an ENT specialist in case your case has become severe, such as with a torn eardrum.
The good news: Swimmer’s ear can be treated with a wide range of methods. Early diagnosis is a must because severe cases will require more drastic measures. The treatment plan for early-stage swimmer’s ear includes the following:
Even when the infection has apparently cleared up, you should continue with your ENT doctor’s prescribed treatment plan as it can recur. For more details of your ear diseases or hearing problems, please consult your ENT doctor / ENT Specailist.
HK ENT Specialist offer ear services as below:
Neonatal hearing screening
Paediatric and adult hearing test
Hearing restoration treatments including cochlear implant surgery, bone anchored hearing aid surgery
Stapedectomy and ossiculoplasty
A comprehensive range of micro ear surgery, etc.