Chronic Ear Disease

Acute Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear)

The Diseased External Ear (Swimmer’s Ear)

An infection in the ear canal, also known as Swimmer’s ear, is not uncommon.  It often causes pain and drainage from the ear and may cause a conductive hearing loss.  External ear infections are most often managed with topical treatments.  The first line of therapy should be vinegar and water irrigations (see below).  If the ear drum is not intact, it may need to be treated with antibiotic ear drops.  It may require several visits for ear cleaning and evaluation during the healing process.  It typically heals without complication.

Vinegar/Water Irrigations

  1. Mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 cup body temperature tap water.
  2. Fill a bulb syringe with the mixture.
  3. Put the tip of the syringe to the opening of the ear canal.
  4. Squeeze the bulb and irrigate the canal.

The mixture should be as close to body temperature as possible.  It may cause a mild sensation of dizziness which will pass quickly.  Repeat the irrigations twice a day.


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