Fungal ear infection

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

May 25, 2023

May 25, 2023

Fungal ear infection
Fungal ear infection

A fungal infection in the outer ear is called Otomycosis. Symptoms of otomycosis include inflammation, dry skin, and foul-smelling discharge. People living in hot climates or participating in water sports are most commonly affected by otomycosis. Otomycosis is often treated with antifungal medications.

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Today in this article, we will learn about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of otomycosis -

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Fungal ear infection symptoms

Symptoms like painswelling, flaky skin, redness, and discharge from the ear can be seen in case of fungal infection in the ear. Come, let's know about the symptoms of this disease -

Usually, these symptoms occur in only one ear, but they can happen in both ears as well. If the infection is caused by Aspergillus, brownish-black or yellow spots surrounded by cotton-like fungus may appear in the ear canal. If it is caused by Candida, instead of spotting, there is a thick, creamy, and white discharge.

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Fungal ear infection causes

The most common cause of fungal ear infection is exposure to the fungus. Other reasons can be eczema and diabetes etc. Come, let us know in detail about the causes of fungal infection in the ear -


Otomycosis is an infection caused by a type of fungus. Many different types of fungus can cause this infection, but usually, this disease is caused by a fungus called Aspergillus or Candida.

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Antibiotic and steroid use

Otomycosis cases have increased over the years due to the overuse of antibiotics, steroids, and ear drops. A study of patients with otomycosis found that all 26 people had used antibiotic ear drops to prevent ear discharge. Some doctors believe that antibiotics affect the pH level of the ear canal and remove any competing bacteria, making it easier for fungus to grow.

Weakened immune system

People come into contact with fungi in the environment every day, but the fungus usually doesn't cause any problems. At the same time, people with a weak immune system can become infected more easily than others when they come in contact with the fungus.

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People who live in hot and humid climates are more prone to otomycosis, as the fungus thrives in warm and moist places.

Other causes of fungal infection in the ear -

  • Ear injury from a hearing aid.
  • Chronic diseases like eczema.
  • Diabetes.
  • Participating in water sports such as swimming or surfing.
  • Swimming in contaminated water.
  • Lack of ear wax in the ear, which prevents the growth of bacteria or fungus.

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Prevention of fungal ear infection

Certain factors can help prevent otomycosis, such as keeping the ear dry, using earplugs, etc. Let's know about the prevention of this disease -

  • Never remove earwax completely from the ears, as it has natural anti-fungal properties.
  • Dry the ears thoroughly after swimming and bathing.
  • Avoid scratching the ears, as this damages the skin and makes it easier for the fungus to invade.
  • Avoid putting cotton swabs in the ears. This can push the dirt further into your ear.

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Diagnosis of fungal ear infection

The doctor talks to the patient about his symptoms and medical history to diagnose otomycosis. They may also use an otoscope to view the ear canal. Otomycosis is confirmed when the bacteria of the fungus are visible. In addition, they may take a sample of pus and debris from the ear canal. This sample is sent to a laboratory for bacterial identification.

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Fungal ear infection treatment

Otomycosis is treated with drops, topical creams, or oral medications. Ear drops can help cure the infection and prevent it from recurring. Come, let us know in detail about the treatment of this disease -


Usually, first of all, the doctor cleans the ear thoroughly. For this, they can use a suction tool. Cleaning gets rid of the ear dirt and the medicine can work better. The ear is then dried as much as possible to prevent further growth of the fungus. Note that a person should not attempt to clean their ears with cotton swabs or other instruments, as this may make the condition worse.

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Ear drop

Ear drops have also been found to be effective in the treatment of otomycosis. A doctor may prescribe ear drops containing antifungal agents. 1% clotrimazole ear drops are helpful in the treatment. May contain fluconazole or miconazole.

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Topical medication

Antifungal topical medication can be in the form of a cream, which is applied to the outer ear.

Other topical medications may include -

These agents may help treat a fungus or may allow other medicines to penetrate better by softening the crust caused by the fungus.

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Oral medications

Oral medications such as itraconazole or voriconazole are usually used in more severe infections where topical agents do not provide relief. Some species of fungus are resistant to antifungal ear drops. Oral antifungals can be a problem for patients with liver disease.

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Pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease the pain.

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Fungal ear infection home remedies

Several home remedies can help treat otomycosis, but a doctor should be consulted before trying them. These home remedies are as follows -

  • Instilling a solution of hydrogen peroxide into the ear helps to remove ear buildup.
  • Over-the-counter medications containing carbamide peroxide can help clear out ear wax.
  • After swimming, equal amounts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol poured into the ears also help in removing ear wax.
  • While swimming, wearing earplugs or a swim cap helps to prevent water from entering the ears and keeps the ears dry.
  • The hair dryer can also be used to remove moisture from the ears. Always keep the lowest setting while using the hair dryer and never take the hair dryer too close to the ears.
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People living in hot climates or participating in water sports are most prone to fungal infections of the ear. In general, otomycosis is not dangerous and can be easily treated with antifungal medications. Symptoms of otomycosis include inflammation, dry skin, and foul-smelling discharge. Otomycosis can usually be prevented by keeping the ears dry and avoiding contaminated water sources. On seeing the symptoms of a fungal infection in the ear, a doctor should be consulted and it should be treated properly.

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