If your ears itch or hurt and are tender to touch, you may have swimmer’s ear, an infection of your ear canal. At Park Avenue ENT, with locations in Brooklyn and on the Upper East Side of New York City, Jacqueline Jones, MD, a board-certified ENT specialist and head and neck surgeon, offers expert diagnosis and treatments to heal this painful outer ear infection. Call the practice or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.
Swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation in your ear canal. Your ear canal extends from the outside of your head to your eardrum.
Swimmer’s ear causes a variety of symptoms, which are usually mild to begin with but become more severe when your infection is left untreated. Some of the initial signs of swimmer’s ear include:
However, when you don’t get treatment for swimmer’s ear, your symptoms can become more painful, and you may have decreased or muffled hearing. You may also notice pus or fluid drainage from your ear. Eventually, your pain may radiate to your face, the side of your head, or your neck.
Bacteria thrive in warm, moist areas. Water that doesn’t drain properly, such as in a lake, creates a perfect environment for bacteria found in the water to multiply. If you swim in that environment, your risk of developing swimmer’s ear increases if you have a scratch or abrasion in your ear that allows the bacteria into your body. You might scratch your ear if you’re too rough when you clean your ear with a cotton swab or other objects.
Dr. Jones diagnoses swimmer’s ear with a physical exam of your ear. She looks for signs of inflammation in your ear canal and examines your eardrum for damage or blockage. If she can’t get a good view of your ear canal and eardrum, Dr. Jones may use a small suction device to clean your ear canal.
You should never attempt to clean your or your child’s ear canal on your own. You increase your risk of damaging the ear canal or eardrum and are more likely to pack earwax more deeply into your ear.
Dr. Jones prescribes antibiotic ear drops to treat swimmer’s ear. She may also prescribe steroid drops to reduce inflammation in your ear canal. She thoroughly cleans your ear using a microscope and suction. If your swimmer’s ear is advanced and causing painful and disruptive symptoms, she can also prescribe oral antibiotics.
Call Park Avenue ENT or schedule an appointment online today for diagnosis and treatment for swimmer’s ear and other ear infections.