Swimmer's Ear Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

What causes swimmer's ear?

Many different factors can increase your child's chance of developing swimmer's ear. As the name implies, one of the factors is excessive wetness as with swimming, although it can occur without swimming. Other possible causes include:

  • being in warm, humid places
  • harsh cleaning of the ear canal
  • trauma to the ear canal
  • dry ear canal skin
  • foreign body in the ear canal
  • lack of cerumen (ear wax)
  • eczema and other forms of dermatitis

What are the symptoms of swimmer's ear?

There are several common symptoms of swimmer's ear, though each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • redness of the outer ear
  • itching in the ear
  • pain, especially when touching or wiggling the ear lobe
  • drainage from the ear
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • swollen ear canal
  • conductive hearing loss

The symptoms of swimmer's ear may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

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