Ear Nose and Throat Diseases Specialist Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz said that the external ear infection called “Otitis Eksterna”, which is defined as “inflammation of the outer surface of the skin lining the external ear canal and the eardrum”, increases in summer days when the sea and the pool are highly preferred. Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz said, “Although the external ear canal has a self-cleaning feature and a protection mechanism against infections, it creates a more favorable environment for infection than other body skins due to its moisture-retaining feature. This situation, when insufficient care is taken, can easily cause the growth of bacteria and fungi and disease. Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz also underlined that the unnecessary and continuous use of ear cleaning cottons paves the way for the external ear canal skin to become irritated and open to infections.
They trigger the infection
Stating that although the external ear canal contains a mechanism of protection against infections, some factors facilitate or directly cause the development of infection, Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz stated that these factors are grouped into two groups as personal and external factors. Assoc. Dr. Titiz “Personal factors, on the other hand, are divided into two as systemic or local causes related to the general body condition. Diabetes, obesity, immune system diseases, dermatological diseases, nutritional disorders etc. among systemic factors. Trauma of the external ear canal skin (reasons such as cleaning or scratching, etc.), external ear canal strictures (cerumen accumulation, narrow or curved canal, exostosis, etc.), absence of protective cerumen (frequent exposure to water and frequent ear cleaning habit), Factors such as having an ear infection, swimming, diving and participating in water-related activities, hot and humid weather, and use of hearing aids are other factors that depend on the person. Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz stated that with the effect of these factors, the protective cerumen layer disappeared and the infection process began.
It starts with pain and a feeling of choking.
“The most important physical finding in external ear infection is pain in the anterior part of the ear canal or by pulling the auricle backwards. Usually, there is increasing pain for 1-2 days and a feeling of obstruction in the ear canal accompanying this pain. Sometimes the pain can be very severe,” said Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz listed other symptoms as follows: “Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear; initially clear, then inflammatory and foul-smelling ear discharge; itching, especially with fungal infection or chronic infections; hearing loss; tinnitus (tinnitus); fever and swelling of the neck (lymph node enlargement) if the infection is not treated; rarely bilateral external ear infection.”
Testing may be required if treatment is ineffective
Stating that if these symptoms are seen, an otolaryngologist should be examined, Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz ”Generally, physical examination is sufficient. However, laboratory tests may be needed if treatment measures are ineffective or if the patient has problems with the immune system. These; ear culture, blood sugar level and hemogram etc. it could be. Rarely, imaging methods may be needed,” he said.
Even if the pain goes away, a doctor should be consulted.
Speaking about the treatment process, Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz ”As soon as the symptoms appear, the contact of the ear with water should be cut off, simple painkillers can be used for pain. It is important for the patient to avoid applying liquid or solid substances to the ear and to consult a doctor quickly, even if the pain subsides. Assoc. Dr. Titiz pointed out that keeping the ear dry with methods such as using plugs to prevent water contact during the treatment accelerates the healing process.
“Ear cleaning before going on vacation is an effective preventive measure.m”
Underlining that external ear tract inflammation is a common problem, but it can be easily prevented, Assoc. Dr. Ali Titiz said: “It is an effective measure for people who need frequent plug (ear wax) cleaning, especially at the beginning of summer, to go on vacation in this way. Proper use of ear sticks, cleaning only the entrance of the external ear canal is important. Materials such as paper clips, keys, liquids and sprays or cleaning by putting your finger in the ear canal should be avoided. This procedure may injure the outer ear canal skin. It is important to try to keep the ears dry and to dry the ears with a clean towel after swimming or showering. By moving the head and auricle, the water can flow out. In the presence of recurrent external ear infections, water can be prevented from entering the ear by using earplugs or a headgear while swimming or showering.