Why are aquatic athletes (eg, swimmers) prone to otitis externa (OE)?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Aquatic athletes are particularly prone to the development of OE because repeated exposure to water results in removal of cerumen and drying of the EAC. Retained water in the ear canal can cause maceration of the skin and a milieu conducive to bacterial or fungal proliferation. OE occurs more often in the summer months, when swimming is more common, [4, 8] and it is also common in tropical areas. [9] Individuals with allergic conditions (eg, eczema, allergic rhinitis, and asthma) are also at significantly higher risk for OE. [10, 11]


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