Otitis externa — commonly known as swimmer’s ear — is an infection of the ear canal, the tubular opening that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.
The infection commonly occurs in kids who spend a lot of time in the water. Too much moisture in the ear can irritate and break down the skin in the canal, allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate.Anything that causes a break in the skin of the ear canal can lead to an infection. Dry skin or eczema, scratching the ear canal, vigorous ear cleaning with cotton-tipped applicators, or inserting foreign objects like bobby pins or paper clips into the ear can all increase the risk of developing otitis externa.