WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Conditions

Otitis Externa

Otitis Externa

Is it normal to be scared of the doctor? Vote now! >

Otitis externa is an infection of ear canal that is often referred to as swimmers ear. It can be caused by an infection or an allergic reaction within the outer ear. A mild form of the condition can result in a single spot occurring that causes localised pain, but which disappears when the spot bursts. More serious cases involve the spread of the condition to the outer ear and scaly skin being produced. There is also the possibility that pus and other discharge can occur as well. Localised cases will normally heal of their own accord, but if it is acute and continues then antibiotics and professional cleaning of the ear will often be prescribed.

If you are worried that your child may be suffering from an ear infection or glue ear and grommets, read our guides especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Hello everyone . I am currently going through Externa Otitis . Its been 4days and i went to see the doctors . They gave me Antibiotic, Paracentamol (because i have fever also) and also two tube of cream to apply on a wool and stuff inside my ear everynight overnight . I have had experience this illness since 2011 and it comes and go . My questions are ; can it go away permenantly ? Will it always come back ? Is there any way i can STOP this from coming ? Is there any surgery i can go for to cure this ? Will this illness spread all the way to my outter ear ? Is it fatal ? Because sometimes , i am scared . And because it is soo painful , i cant sleep , eat , talk well (jaw joint pain) or lie down . I tend to have a shocking sharp pain inside my ear & ear canal , itchy feeling , and that side of my head (left) i am experiencing sudden sharp pain now and then and my lower back head will experience the same thing as well . The whole of my ear too ! And i cant stand the sharp pain . Its like my ears are about to blow up anytime . Please help me . Give me the answers because this is the 3rd time it happened to me . Thankyou , in advance .





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am fighting a losing battle I have had this constant for 6 years. I have had every spray/drop going had an ear wick and micro suction treatment and within a few weeks it's back. It absolutely drives me insane 😕

I have otitis externa and after taking ciprofloxacin for a week(oral) and ofloxacin(ear drops),my infection got worse.So the ent surgen got me admitted and gave me antibiotics intravenously...i feel much better now but i do have concomittent pains which radiates to my skull and at times my mastoid bone too. (ent surgeon did a cat scan a week ago and my mastoid bone wasnt affected but im afraid it is now,the pain in unbearable.My main question here is,why is my skull hurting?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I was born deaf and I wear hearing aids and for the past two years I have been getting re ocouring infections got medication new earmolds ect then weeks later it got worse went back to my gp insisted gentimicen drops and took a swab . Two weeks after got results otitis externia and was given varouis treatments and even saw a ear specialist . Nothing seems to be working its swollin and to be honest I have had to be off work due to it that its painful to put my hearing aids in now and I have had them out for 3weeks





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have been having ear infections for years and always given the ear spray which is good but if the ear is swollen the spray cant get in ,twice the doctor sent me to the hospital to have a wick put in ,and the ears cleaned which is very loud and not nice im ok for awhile then i get another ear infection ,also i have noticed it comes when i feel runn down also it affects my glands ,and face i have it now makes you feel like crying its awfull





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi, my ear is killing me and I've got a spot in it, also I have ear ache all the time and can't sleep at night. My ear feels like it's blocked and the spot makes it worse, do u think I should go to the doctors or not? (Please help me out because I've been to the doctors because of an water infection 2 weeks ago and don't want to go so soon after that)





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi guys. I have this infection. I have been prescribed a antibiotic spray, (otomize) which I have to use three times a day. It feels like all it's doing is getting stuck which I suppose it's meant to do, but it's causing pain when I lay down and I can't stand the feeling of being deaf, anyone got any idea how to shift it so I can get my hearing back, I'm one of theese people that get very restless by not being able to hear or a blocked nose!. Very fed up! Thanks in advance!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Yes I have exactly your problem and sympathise. I am going to the doctor tomorrow. This spray may stop the itchy pain but as you say, it blocks the ears with liquid that does not escape for days and makes you partially deaf! I swim a great deal and think that the problem may be due to sore tubes from pulling rubber bungs in and out while doing a mile and swimming for over an hour. After a few lengths one pulls out the bungs to hear better while resting a little. In and out, in and out, this causes tiny tears in the tubes that can be infected from the dirty water.

I had a wick put in my ear then taken out after 4 days and a microsuction then cream inserted into my ear on Thursday although the pain has gone I still have a blocked ear is it save to put drops in





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have had sore ears spoor 2 years now... Started off with being dizzy and sick which doc said was labrynthitus got anti sickness tablets , then I got steroid drops every time I went bck to docs then a spray and more drops... My ears were leaking all the time. But now for months they aphave been really red inside and dry on outer and inner ears... I feel like my ears stink... And they are so flakey.. It really is embarrassing the docs said there was no cure for chronic otitis extrrna and it just won't go away they get that dry the end up cut... Can u help





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I had itchy ears which run with fluid for about 4 years, I could hear the fluid sloshing around and my outer ear was so sore and scaly. I had the shivers and a headache each time it got really bad. Utterly miserable! I've had antibiotics and various creams from the doctor and ENT specialist but they only worked for a short time. I then bought some diamotaceous earth from suppliers on Amazon, there are a few so make sure you get animal/human grade. It's a white powder that looks like talc. Put it in my ears and they've totally healed in 3 days! Look up this product on the internet, it has many applications for killing bacteria and parasites and is totally natural. It appears to be very similar to an ingredient in Thornit, which causes canker in dogs - look up canker in dogs, these were the symptoms I had. Finally a cure after 4 years!

I suffered with Otitis externa approx a year ago, gp gave me antibiotic drops. First time this didn't help, it came back the following month so I just used the drops again, Anyway that seemed to have worked for a few months I still had itchy irritated ears but I coped with it. Now 6 months later I have gone deaf in my left ear and have been for 5 days now, It is making feel generally unwell, dizzy and my balance is pretty unsteady. Please Help!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

If your ears are blocked then the antibiotic drops can't get in to fix the infections properly. Syringing infected ears or ears with underlying eczema can cause damage, so your ears need to be cleared by microsuction prior to treatment with the drops. I lost patience after 4 years of GPs being less than useful and I went privately to an ENT nurse. Microsuction and a prescription cost me £68 but the result is sharp hearing and no pain or itching. Your GP can refer you for this treatment on the NHS and it would be best to try for that before taking the private route, but, as I say, I had lost patience. If there is an underlying condition then treatment will have to be repeated and so the cost of going privately will add up. In the meantime, keep your ears dry and try not to scratch them. I am well aware that not scratching them is almost impossible, but try.

i continuously having pus discharge from my ear for more than a Month and i took lot of antibiotics but no use can anyone suggest me what i have to do? this is very much irritating please help me to get cured...





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Doctor Responses: Thrush

    In Videos - Dr Pixie talks about how to deal with thrush, and answers your comm…

  2. Doctor Responses: Vaginal Discharge

    In Videos - Dr Pixie answers your most frequently asked questions about vaginal…

  3. Doctor Responses: Chlamydia

    In Videos - Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about Chl…

  4. Episode 1

    In Episodes - The first set of cases through the EI doors included cases of Piles…

  5. Consultation: Ear Infection

    In Videos - A patient with an ear infection is diagnosed by Dr Jessen

  6. Episode 3 - Rural

    In Episodes - This week's episode includes a woman leaving pieces of skin everywh…

  7. Episode 12 - Under The Knife

    In Episodes - In this special episode, the doctors find out what happens when sur…

  8. Doctor Responses: Boils

    In Videos - Dr Pixie explains why boils form, what can be done about them and a…

  9. Doctor Responses: Folliculitis

    In Videos - Dr Pixie discusses folliculitis, shaving rashes, how to avoid it an…

  10. Episode 11 - Under the Skin

    In Episodes - The doctors revisit famous cases of skin problems, finding out how…


More Information

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Otitis externa is a condition that affects more than 1% of the population in the UK every year. It causes inflammation (swelling) of the external ear canal, which is the tube between the outer ear and the ear drum (known as the tympanic membrane). Anyone can get otitis externa, but it is slightly more common in women than in men. Read More »

Am I Normal?

Share, explore, vote, watch… Am I Normal? is a bold new Channel 4 project that will redefine what you think of as ‘normal’.

Visit Am I Normal? >