What factors can contribute to the development of 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

The processes involved in the development of OE can be divided into the following four categories:

  • Obstruction (eg, cerumen buildup, surfer’s exostosis, or a narrow or tortuous canal), resulting in water retention
  • Absence of cerumen, which may occur as a result of repeated water exposure or overcleaning the ear canal
  • Trauma
  • Alteration of the pH of the ear canal

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