Signs & symptoms
Signs and symptoms of swimmers ear include an itching sensation in the ear canal, redness inside the ear and fluid drainage.
Otitis externa is classified as mild, moderate or advanced depending on symptom intensity. Patients with mild symptoms, as pictured here, will experience only slight itching, slight redness and drainage of an odorless fluid.
Patients with more moderate otitis externa have slightly more intense symptoms, including more extensive redenss, pus drainage and muffled hearing due to partial blockage from swelling and fluid.
Patients with advanced otitis externa may experience severe pain radiating to the face, neck or side of the head; redness or swelling of the outer ear, lympodenopathy and fever.
Water may become trapped in the ear after swimming, creating a favorable environment for bacteria. Cuts or abrasions in the ear canal ans sensitivity reactions to hair products or jewelry can also increase the risk of otitis externa.