Ear inflammation

Synonyms in the broader sense

Medical: Otitis externa


The ear canal inflammation is as the name implies an inflammation in the external auditory canal. The inflamed skin is very painful.

The ear canal begins at the outer ear, measures about 3 - 4 cm in length and ends at the eardrum. He runs s-shaped.


The cause of the ear canal inflammation lies in an infection of the hair follicles with a certain bacterial species (staphylococci). Usually this infection happens when cleaning the ear canal with cotton swabs. Here are the smallest injuries caused by the bacteria can then penetrate. Also by the too frequent cleaning of the auditory canal, the cerumen is removed and thus the physiological protection against dirt and bacteria is abolished.
Even by bathing in contaminated water, such an auditory canal inflammation may occur if the water that has entered the ear canal can not immediately drain away again.

Caution is also required with hearing aids or other earmolds. Here behind the hearing aid a chamber can emerge, which is closed off from the air.


The ear canal inflammation is associated with severe pain. Particularly painful is the pressure on the tragus. The tragus is the cartilaginous supernatant of the obstruction to the front, so to the face.

Pain also occurs when chewing, which is the TMJ in the immediate vicinity of the external auditory canal.

The pull on the auricle also causes pain. However, if the doctor wants to insert the ear speculum into the ear to assess the ear canal and the eardrum, pulling on the auricle is unavoidable. Pulling back upwards straightens the s-shaped ear canal, which makes it easier to see the eardrum.


The auditory meatus is swollen in the membranous part. Swelling and enlargement of the lymph nodes may also occur in front of or behind the auricle. Also pain and redness are important for the diagnosis.

If one or more hair follicles become inflamed, pus accumulations may occur that break into the ear canal.


Usually the pain is breastfed. Alcohol strips are inserted into the ear canal. Later, strips are soaked in antibiotics and inserted. Cortisone albums can be applied to reduce the rate.

The pus plug can be cut open if the duration of the inflammation is too long.


Never clean your ear canal with cotton swabs. As a result, the earwax is only pushed further and further inwards and moves the eardrum. The self-cleaning system of the ear is completely sufficient. The earwax transports dirt and bacteria to the outside.

The ear should be kept dry. If the ear canal is moist, it provides a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.

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