HK ENT Specialist
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5/F., Kai Seng Commercial Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road,
TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556
Email:: info@hkentspecialist.hk

ENT Knowledge Base (Chinese)

ENT Knowledge Base

Swimmer’s Ear Can Affect Everybody

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:

 

  • Mild to moderate pain that can be worsened by tugging on the affected outer ear
  • Intense pain in the ear that may or may not radiate to the surrounding areas (i.e., face, side of head, or neck)
  • Feeling of itchiness in the ear
  • Ear feels either full or with a blockage
  • Fever
  • Drainage (i.e., fluid oozing out of the ear)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Decreased sense of hearing

 

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:

 

  • Physical examination of the ear canal using a otoscope
  • Visualization of the eardrum to determine whether it’s damaged or not

 

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:

 

  • Cleaning of the ear canal, a procedure done by your doctor
  • Ear drops, which inhibit bacterial growth, will be prescribed to treat the primary infection
  • Topical steroids can also speed up the healing process
  • Painkillers can be prescribed, too

 

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:

Ear (Otology)

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.

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