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What Is an Outer Ear Infection?

Learn about outer ear infections from Ronald A. Hoffman, M.D. in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Outer ear infections are usually bacterial. And we commonly refer to them as "swimmer's ear," because the most common cause of an outer ear infection is getting water in your outer ear when you swim. The second most common cause of an outer ear infection is an individual manipulating their ear with a Q-tip or a hairpin or sometimes a pen.

Outer ear infections present with pain, and the ear is tender. When you jiggle it or push on it, it will hurt. You will often have a hearing loss because your outer ear is swollen closed. The treatment for an outer ear infection is usually ear drops. When it is severe, you might be given an oral antibiotic as well.

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