Otitis externa


Otitis externa is inflammation of the external ear canal, often with infection. This inflammation is usually generalised throughout the ear canal, so is often referred to as “diffuse otitis externa”. This review excludes localised inflammations, such as furuncles. Otitis externa has acute (<6 weeks), chronic (>3 months), and necrotising (malignant) forms. Acute otitis externa may present as a single episode, or may recur. It causes pain with aural discharge and associated hearing loss.[1] If the ear canal is visible, it appears red and inflamed. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the most frequent bacterial pathogens in otitis externa. Fungal overgrowth (e.g., with Aspergillus niger) is also common, especially after prolonged antibiotic treatment. Chronic otitis externa may result in canal stenosis with associated hearing loss, for which it may be difficult to fit hearing aids. Necrotising otitis externa is defined by destruction of the temporal bone, usually in people with diabetes or in people who are immunocompromised, and can be life threatening.[2] In this review, we look at the empirical treatment of only acute and chronic otitis externa.

Latest citations

Interventions for acute otitis externa. ( 19 May 2015 )