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Swimmer's ear - chronic

  • Definition

    Swimmer's ear is inflammation, irritation, or infection of the outer ear and ear canal. Chronic swimmer's ear occurs when the condition does not go away or comes back multiple times.

    See also: Swimmer's ear - acute


    Alternative Names

    Ear infection - outer ear - chronic; Otitis externa - chronic


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Swimmer's ear (otitis externa) is fairly common.

    Swimming in polluted water is one way to get swimmer's ear. Moisture makes the ear more prone to infection from water-loving bacteria such as Pseudomonas. Other bacteria, or fungi (in rare cases) can also cause infection.

    Other causes include:

    • Disease of the bone (malignant otitis externa)
    • Having an object stuck in the ear
    • Inadequate treatment
    • Scratching the ear