What is Otitis Externa?

What is Otitis Externa?

What is Otitis Externa?

What is otitis externa?  Otitis externa is infection and inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal.   It is a common problem, particularly amongst swimmers. It often starts off as a mild irritation. This is worsened by inserting sharp objects in the in the ears to scratch as well as by warm soapy water and sea water.

Wearing custom molded swimming ear plugs is an ideal preventative for keeping otitis externa and swimmer's ear at bay.  ZenPlugs Ear Plugs are ideal. This is because they are fitted to the ear canals and contain an antibacterial which kills the bacteria which cause ear infections.  Click on 'Buy Now' if you want healthy ears.


  • Infection
  • Irritation from soaps, chemicals and inflammation
  • Eczema and psoriasis

Signs and Symptoms

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Soreness
  • Pain
  • Discharge
  • Reduced hearing.  Caused by the build up of debris in the canal.

 Worsening Factors

  • Dirty fingers in ears.  Unfortunately sore, itchy ears invite probing fingers.
  • Damage to the lining of the ear from pen lids, fingernails and other objects inserted in sore ears
  • Warm soapy, perfumed bath water
  • Sea water (full of bacteria)


  • Avoid worsening factors.  Wear ear plugs in the bath, shower and sea.
  • Ear drops containing a combination of medications. These include antibiotics such as gentamicin, antifungals such as acetic acid (vinegar) and steroids.  More information on this condition is available here.