It can turn your holiday into a nightmare with irritating results such as external ear inflammation, severe pain, decreased hearing, ear discharge and fever, which are common especially in regions where the weather is hot and humid. Near East University Hospital Ear Nose Throat Head Neck and Aesthetic Surgery Department Specialist Dr. Remzi Tınazlı said that bacteria and sometimes fungi can cause inflammation in the ear canal, especially in contact with unhygienic pool and sea water. exp. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı emphasized that the infection can spread to other parts of the body in external ear infections that are not treated at an early stage.
Cases of external ear infections increase in summer
Saying that, unlike otitis media, external ear tract inflammation is the inflammation of the outer surface of the skin and eardrum lining the external ear canal, Dr. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı pointed out that due to the warm and humid area of the external ear canal, the growth rate of microbes increases, which leads to disease, and that the inflammation of the external ear canal, most commonly caused by bacterial or fungal infection, is sometimes caused by allergic or dermatological causes.
“Although external ear infection can occur in any season of the year, it is usually seen in the summer months,” said Dr. Tınazlı attributes this situation to the fact that the excess water entering the ear canal due to swimming or frequent showering destroys the protective wax known as earwax. In addition, reminding that frequent exposure to water can disrupt the acidic structure of the skin, and the disappearing earwax facilitates the reproduction of bacteria and fungi, Exp. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı continued as follows; “Since this condition is usually seen in swimmers, it is also called swimmer's ear or tropical ear. Cleaning the ear canal frequently with a swab or scratching the ear with a foreign object can remove the protective layer and damage the skin in this area and lead to an easier infection. For these reasons, factors such as swimming in polluted water, scratching and mixing the ear, inserting a foreign body into the ear and having an allergic skin structure can be counted as factors that facilitate catching external ear infections.
External ear canal skin protects our body from microbes due to its structure.
Expressing that the outer ear canal skin has protective properties against inflammation of the outer ear canal, Uzm. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı noted that in some cases, this protection could not prevent the formation of inflammation. Dr. Tınazlı said, “The external auditory canal is like a cave with a length of 2,5 centimeters, covered with skin, a cartilage and bone skeleton, and an eardrum at the end. Our skin, which covers the outer ear canal, has protective properties from microbes. Our skin, which has an acidic structure, has functions such as preventing the reproduction and living of microbes by acting as a barrier. In addition, earwax, which is produced in the external ear canal and called cerumen, prevents the development of microbes (fungi and bacteria) with its lysozyme and acidic structure. Sticky and oily earwax, together with the hairs in the ear canal entrance, prevent dust, live insects or other foreign objects from outside. In cases where these features are negatively affected, external ear canal inflammation is inevitable.
External Ear Tract Inflammation Symptoms
Stating that itching and touching the auricle may cause increased sensitivity and pain in patients, complete closure of the ear canal due to edema may cause hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear, and severe pain may be experienced when pressure is applied to the cartilage in front of the ear called the tragus or with the chewing movement. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı stated that in such cases, there is usually no ear discharge, but sometimes watering and crusting can be seen on the ear canal skin.
Treatment of otitis externa
“The first and most important step in treatment is to clean the external auditory canal without trauma. Small tampons suitable for the external ear canal are used in order for the drip treatment to be effective and to last for a long time. It is very important to apply acidic solutions to maintain acidic pH balance in the canal, and to apply topical steroid preparations to reduce edema and pain in the ear canal. In addition, the use of antibiotics in the form of drops is recommended. Depending on the extent of the infection, oral medications can also be used in the treatment. said Dr. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı suggested that the ear drops should be heated in the palm before instillation in order to prevent dizziness that may cause, and the earlobe should be moved back and forth to allow the medicine to progress in the ear canal.
Stating that after the treatment is started, complaints usually decrease within 3 days and there is a complete recovery within 10 days, especially in the early period, the intervention provides less pain and prevents the spread of the infection to other areas. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı said the following about the necessity of protecting the ear from water during the treatment; “During the treatment, patients should definitely try to keep their ears dry, not get water in their ears during shower or bath, not use earplugs, stop swimming pool activities, not use drugs other than those prescribed by the doctor, not scratch or mix their ears, and remove their hearing aids occasionally if they use it.”
Do not use drugs not recommended by your doctor.
“In case of external ear infections, antibiotics containing or inappropriate drugs should never be used without consulting a doctor. In case of pain in the ear, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. In addition, external ear infections should not be treated with herbal or unsuitable products. Dr. Remzi Tınazlı pointed out that the use of these products may cause the external ear infection to worsen instead of treating it.