External Otologic Infections

  • Kathryn Y. Noonan
  • James E. SaundersEmail author


Otitis externa is infection and inflammation involving the external auditory canal and may include the auricle and tympanic membrane. It is characterized by otorrhea, canal inflammation, otalgia, pruritus, tinnitus, and hearing loss. It is frequently caused by acute bacterial infections but can also be attributed to chronic bacterial inflammation, fungal infections, myringitis, or viral infections. The differential diagnosis includes otitis media, malignant otitis externa, neoplasm, and autoimmune or dermatologic conditions. Treatment includes topical medications (e.g., topical antibiotics, antiseptics, corticosteroids), aural toilet, and in some cases surgical debridement. It is important to recognize the underlying diagnosis and common pathogens to appropriately treat the disease. In addition, the integrity of the tympanic membrane must be considered as many topical medications are potentially ototoxic. This chapter reviews the etiology, clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of various external otologic infections.


Otomycosis Otitis externa Myringitis Swimmer’s ear Antibiotics Microbiology Ramsay-Hunt 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of OtolaryngologyDartmouth Hitchcock Medical CenterLebanonUSA

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