Jefferson University Hospitals

Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)

Water that gets trapped in your ear canal when swimming can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Swimmer's ear, also called otitis externa, is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by this type of bacteria. Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat physicians) of the Jefferson Balance and Hearing Center will evaluate you for swimmer's ear by using an instrument called an otoscope to look inside your ears. A culture of the drainage from the ear may also be taken to help determine a proper course of treatment.

Typical treatment options include ear drops, antibiotics, medication or a wick. Swimmer's ear usually clears up within seven to 10 days.

Rated among the best in the nation for Ear, Nose and Throat by U.S.News & World Report, our Center features a team of physicians and audiologists that offers comprehensive evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation.