• Vol. 34 No. 4, 330–334
  • 15 May 2005

Infections of the External Ear



Otitis externa is one of the most common conditions seen in the otolaryngology practice. It encompasses a wide range of conditions, from those that cause mild inflammation and discomfort to those that are life-threatening. The management of these conditions requires a clear understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the ear canal, the microbiology of pathogens and familiarity with the clinical presentation.

Otitis externa refers to a spectrum of infections of the external auditory canal and auricle. It is a common condition and affects between 5% to 20% of the patients attending ENT clinics.1 It may be classified on the basis of aetiology, location, and time course of the illness. These include acute diffuse otitis externa, acute localised otitis externa, chronic otitis externa, otomycosis, herpes oticus, dermatoses and malignant otitis externa.

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