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Can Otitis Externa Cause Hearing Loss

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Therapy For An Inflammation Of The Ear Canal

Long-term Otitis Externa Affect Hearing & Even Cause Deafness (Left Ear) – EP1

The intended treatment outcome of an inflammation of the ear canal is the decline in swelling and the restoration of impaired hearing respectively, the reduction of sustained hearing impairment. Initially, the ear canal should be cleaned. In the case of a conclusive result, the hearing impairment should be treated with medicated salves or creams. In severe cases, it might be necessary to prescribe a round of antibiotics. Most of the time, however, otitis externa is treated conservatively and, in certain cases, surgically.

What Are The Symptoms Of Outer Ear Infection

Often only one ear is affected. Symptoms affect your ear and surrounding area, including:

  • ear pain or pain when moving your ear or jaw
  • itchiness and irritation in or around the ear canal
  • swelling and redness of the ear canal and surrounding area
  • peeling skin inside and around the outside ear
  • fluid from your ear, often with a bad smell
  • hearing loss.

A very rare but dangerous complication is malignant otitis externa. This is the spread of infection to the bones of your ear canal and lower part of your skull. If you have an outer ear infection and experience strange symptoms, such as dizziness or muscular weakness in your face, seek immediate medical help.

How To Confirm The Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the otitis should be made by an otorrinolaryngologist, or pediatrician, in the case of children, through assessment of clinical history, of the signs and symptoms, and of the ear examination, done with the use of the otoscope, a medical equipment to observe the inside of the ear.

In addition, the doctor can also request some specific examinations to diagnose the type of otitis, such as blood test, computed tomography and magnetic resonance.

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What Causes Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss happens when the natural movement of sound through the external ear or middle ear is blocked, and the full sound does not reach the inner ear. Conductive loss from the exterior ear structures may result from:

  • EarwaxYour body normally produces earwax. In some cases, it can collect and completely block your ear canal causing hearing loss.
  • Swimmers earSwimmers ear, also called otitis externa, is an infection in the ear canal often related to water exposure, or cotton swab use.
  • Foreign bodyThis is typically a problem in children who may put common objects including beads and beans in their ears but can also be seen in adults most often by accident, such as when a bug gets into the ear.
  • Bony lesionsThese are non-cancerous growths of bone in the ear canal often linked with cold water swimming.
  • Defects of the external ear canal, called aural atresiaThis is most commonly noted at birth and often seen with defects of the outer ear structure, called microtia.
  • Middle ear fluid or infection
  • Ear drum problems

Conductive loss associated with middle ear structures include:

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Inflamed Or Perforated Eardrum

Chronic Otitis Media

In rare cases, usually when the condition is chronic, the infection can spread to the eardrum. If this happens, discharge can buildup within the inner ear, causing the eardrum to rupture, or perforate.

Symptoms of a perforated eardrum may include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Ringing in the ear

A perforated eardrum will usually heal on its own in around two months. During this time, no liquid should enter the ear. Due to this, doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat the infection itself. Over-the-counter painkillers can be used to manage any discomfort.

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How Should You Clean Your House After A Staph Infection

Many cleaning products that contain bleach are effective against Staphylococcus aureus. These should have a list of germs that they will kill on the label.

Follow the directions on the disinfectant label carefully. Make sure that you know the amount of time that the product needs to remain on a surface to be effective.

Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing

Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.

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What Is The Treatment For Outer Ear Pain And Swelling

Initially, your doctor will clean the affected ear and prescribe ear drops and recommend you follow simple self-care measures. Further treatment depends on the severity and cause of the infection or inflammation. For example, specific treatments for skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema may be prescribed.

What Are The Signs Of Swimmer’s Ear

Long-term Otitis Externa Affect Hearing & Even Cause Deafness (Right Ear) – EP2

The main sign is severe ear pain that gets worse when the outside part of the ear is pulled or pressed on. Sometimes there is itching in the ear canal before the pain begins.

The outer ear might get red or swollen, and lymph nodes around the ear may get enlarged and tender. Sometimes, there’s a greenish-yellow discharge of pus from the ear opening. It can be hard to hear in the affected ear if pus or swelling of the canal begins to block passage of sound into the ear.

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Hearing Loss Caused By Ear Infections And How To Treat It

In some cases, an ear infection can cause temporary hearing loss. The term for this type of hearing loss is conductive hearing loss and it occurs when the infection blocks sound from reaching the middle ear via the ear canal.

Two of the most common infections that cause hearing loss are otitis media and otitis externa. Otitis media is a middle ear infection and otitis externa is an infection of the ear canal that causes swelling.

Prevention Of Acute External Otitis

External otitis often can be prevented by applying a few drops of a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar immediately after swimming. The alcohol helps remove water, and the vinegar alters the pH of the canal. Use of cotton swabs or other implements in the canal should be strongly discouraged.

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What Is The Treatment For Otitis Externa

Most people with otitis externa are given treatment without having any tests, as the diagnosis is usually clear from examination of the ear. If you recognise the condition yourself you could try some ear drops for otitis externa. These are available without prescription, such as those containing 2% acetic acid.

Ear drops are usually enough to cure a bout of short-lasting otitis externa. However, other treatments are sometimes added. This is more likely to be necessary if you notice any of the following:

  • Your ears are particularly painful or swollen.
  • Your ears are completely blocked .
  • Your otitis externa keeps coming back or has become persistent .

It is also very important that you take steps to help things settle down, as if the conditions that caused the otitis externa in the first place are unchanged, it may well come back.

Causes Of Outer Ear Infection

Ear Examination

Outer ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or fungi. But anything that irritates the skin of your ear canal or causes an allergic reaction can also cause inflammation.

Certain things may make you more likely to get an outer ear infection.

  • Damage to your ear canal from a cotton bud, your fingernail or any other object.
  • Using hearing aids or earplugs these can damage or irritate your ear canal or introduce bacteria.
  • Swimming, especially in polluted water because this may introduce bacteria into your ear.
  • Living in a hot, humid climate ear infection is often known as tropical ear.
  • Having allergies or being sensitive to products like hairsprays and hair dyes these can irritate your ear canal.
  • A build-up of earwax in your ear canal or accidentally pushing wax into your ear when cleaning it. This can trap water in your ear, making it damper and more likely to get infected.
  • Having too little earwax . Earwax protects the inside of your ears from infections.
  • Having a narrow ear canal, which means that water can become trapped and bacteria are more likely to grow.
  • Having a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis broken skin is more likely to become inflamed.
  • Having a condition that affects your immune system for example, HIV/AIDS.

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Symptoms Of Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear can be very painful.

A full or clogged feeling in the ear that may cause sound to be muffled is often the first telltale sign of swimmers ear. If untreated at that point, what follows is intense pain, swelling and sometimes discharge.

Symptoms include:

  • Swelling and sometimes discharge

Why Do People Get Swimmer’s Ear

Most of the time, your ear fights off the germs that cause swimmer’s ear on its own. You can thank your earwax for that. While it doesn’t get much respect, earwax helps protect the ear canal from damage and makes it hard for germs to grow.

But if the skin gets scratched, germs can get into your ear canal and cause an infection. Some common reasons you may get swimmer’s ear are:

Sticking stuff in your ear. If you use cotton swabs, fingers, hairpins, pen caps, or anything else to clean your ears, it can rub away the protective earwax or scratch your skin. Even ear buds, earplugs, and hearing aids can have this effect, especially if you use them a lot.

Moisture trapped in your ear. When water gets stuck in your ear canal after swimming — or after you soak in a hot tub or even take a shower or bath — it can remove some of the earwax and soften the skin, which makes it easier for germs to get in.

Humid weather and sweat can cause the same problem. Germs like a warm, wet place to grow, so moisture trapped in your ear is perfect for them.

Other things can play a role in swimmer’s ear, like:

Your age. While swimmer’s ear can happen to anyone, it’s most common in kids and early teenagers.

Narrow ear canals. Kids often have ear canals that are small and don’t drain as well.

Skin reactions and conditions. Sometimes hair products, cosmetics, and jewelry can irritate your skin and raise the odds of getting swimmer’s ear. So can skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.

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Otitis: What It Is Symptoms Causes And Treatment

The otitis is an inflammation or ear infection, which can be caused by the use of cotonetes, introduction of small objects, water intake or contamination of viruses or bacteria in the ear.

The diagnosis of otitis is done by an otorrinolaryngologist through a clinical evaluation and treatment is usually done with the use of antibiotics, analgesics or tympanocentesis, which is the introduction of a flexible tube in the ear to remove the secretion.

Treatment Of Acute External Otitis

Explaining Otitis Externa | With Dr O’Donovan
  • Debridement

  • Topical acetic acid and corticosteroids

  • Sometimes topical antibiotics

In mild and moderate acute external otitis, topical antibiotics and corticosteroids are effective. First, the infected debris should be gently and thoroughly removed from the canal with suction or dry cotton swabs under adequate lighting. Water irrigation of the canal is contraindicated.

Mild external otitis can be treated by altering the ear canals pH with 2% acetic acid and by relieving inflammation with topical hydrocortisone these are given as 5 drops 3 times a day for 7 days.

Moderate external otitis requires the addition of an antibacterial solution or suspension, such as ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, or neomycin/polymyxin, . When inflammation of the ear canal is relatively severe, an ear wick should be placed into the ear canal and wetted with Burow solution or a topical antibiotic 4 times a day. The wick helps direct the drops deeper into the external canal when the canal is greatly swollen. The wick is left in place for 24 to 72 hours , after which time the swelling may have receded enough to allow the instillation of drops directly into the canal.

Fungal external otitis requires thorough cleaning of the ear canal and application of an antimycotic solution . However, these solutions should not be used if the tympanic membrane is perforated, because they can cause severe pain or damage to the inner ear. Repeated cleanings and treatments may be needed to fully eradicate the infection.

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Swimmers Ear And Hearing Loss

Swimmers Ear is a medical condition, which sometimes leads to temporary hearing loss. This condition is due to the trapped water in the ear canal which results in the accumulation of bacteria on the skin surface.

Common situations that risk swimmers ear includes stagnant water, hot tub, swimming pools, showers, water slides in the waterpark, and other places with moisture.

People having eczema, seborrhea, or skin damage in their ear canal are more prone to getting an infection. Specific chemicals in hair sprays or hair dyes can trigger the condition when used with a cotton ball.

People may experience a hearing difficulty in the case of a swimmers ear if it goes untreated. With proper treatment, their hearing impairment diminishes.

But if the treatment is ineffective, the condition may continue to occur resulting in recurring cases of hearing loss. In extreme cases, the base of the skull, cranial nerves and brain can also be damaged as the infection spreads.

For the swimmers ear, applying ear drops during the initial stages of infection can help to treat it. The composition of these eardrops as boric or acetic acid which stops harmful bacteria from further multiplication.

If you suspect of suffering from swimmers ear, consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. The infection can also get into bone and cartilage around the ear causing temporary deafness.

How Is An Ear Canal Inflammation Diagnosed

Generally, the first step is an examination of the ear canal to determine if there is an obvious abscess or boil present. Moreover, by pulling back the outer ear, the presence of pain should be assessed. In any case, an ENT-specialist should be consulted for a diagnosis. If necessary, a cleaning of the ear canal , a smear, and/or hearing test should be performed.

Just book an appointment with an audiologist or an ENT specialist and they can do the necessary tests. They will also be able to provide you with the next possible steps and how to ensure that the inflammation goes away completely.

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What Causes The Condition

A bacterial skin infection of the outer ear is the most common cause of otitis externa. It can also be caused by a fungal or viral infection.

A number of changes within the outer ear make it easier for these microorganisms to grow resulting in an outer ear infection. A reduction of ear wax in the outer ear allows bacteria to grow in the auditory canal because the acidity of ear wax prevents bacterial growth. Reduced ear wax can be caused by frequent swimming or water based activities. Excessive ear wax in the auditory canal may trap microorganisms and lead to infection. Trauma to the outer ear may breach the skin and cause an infection. The infection triggers the inflammation, redness and other signs and symptoms of otitis externa.

What Is Otitis Externa

Hearing Loss

Otitis externa is a condition that occurs when the external ear canal, the channel between the outer ear and the eardrum, becomes inflamed. The condition is typically the result of a bacterial or fungal infection, but can also be caused by irritation or allergies. As repeated exposure to water can make otitis externa more likely, the condition is commonly referred to as swimmerâs ear.

Symptoms include pain in the ear, itchiness in the ear canal, partial hearing loss and a discharge of pus or liquid. While it can cause severe discomfort, most cases of otitis externa resolve in under a week. While ear drops are the most common treatment method, other options are also available for severe cases or when the condition is chronic or recurrent.

Otitis externa should not be confused with the most common type of ear infection, otitis media. Also known as a middle ear infection, otitis media affects the air-filled cavity behind the eardrum. For more information, take a look at this comprehensive otitis media resource.

If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing any type of ear infection, carry out a symptom assessment using the free Ada app.

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Etiology Of Acute External Otitis

Acute diffuse external otitis is usually caused by bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Staphylococcus aureus, or Escherichia coli. Fungal external otitis , typically caused by Aspergillus niger or Candida albicans, is less common. Furuncles usually are caused by S. aureus .

Predisposing conditions include

  • Irritants

Attempts to clean the ear canal with cotton swabs can cause microabrasions of the delicate skin of the ear canal and may push debris and cerumen deeper into the canal. These accumulated substances tend to trap water, resulting in skin maceration that sets the stage for bacterial infection.

Complications Of Outer Ear Infection

Most outer ear infections clear up quickly with the right treatment. But sometimes an outer ear infection is harder to get rid of, and may continue to cause symptoms for three months or longer. This is called a long-term infection. In time, this can cause your ear canal to become narrowed or blocked, and lead to hearing loss.

Its possible for the infection to spread deeper into your skin or form a large collection of pus . You may need antibiotic tablets to treat this.

Rarely, an outer ear infection can start to affect the skin and cartilage around your ear, and nearby bones. This is called necrotising or malignant otitis externa. It happens when your outer ear infection spreads from your ear to nearby tissues. This can lead to serious infections of your skin, bones, and the membrane surrounding your brain . Most people who develop malignant otitis externa have an underlying problem with their immune system. For instance, they may have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, diabetes, chemotherapy or taking medicines that suppress the immune system.

If you have malignant otitis, your ear is likely to be very painful. You may also have a high temperature, headache, ear discharge and dizziness. You may notice some loss of movement of the muscles in your face.

If you have these symptoms, its important to seek medical help straight away. Malignant otitis can be life-threatening if it isnt treated.

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