Swimmer’s Ear (also known as otitis externa diffusa) is an inflammatory reaction of the ear canal skin and can be very painful. As the name suggests, swimmer’s ear is caused by water exposure. The ENT physician will typically recommend adherence to certain precautionary measures such as avoiding Q-tip use. In addition, you may place eardrops into the affected ear after water exposure. Some folks are asked to dry their ears with a blow dryer and some are asked to use a certain powder that should further prevent episodes.
With persistent infections, other more serious causes should be ruled-out. The proper work-up sometimes includes a CT and/or MRI scan and in some cases a surgical biopsy of the ear canal. However, the need for surgery is for a small minority of patients.