What educational information should be provided to patients with 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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OE is a common problem, with risk factors that are easily avoided. Education regarding ways of keeping the ear dry is helpful. Preventive use of acidifying drops is encouraged in patients with recurrent OE. Avoidance of the use of cotton-tipped swabs to remove ear cerumen should be discussed with patients. Improper use of cotton-tipped applicator sticks simply packs cerumen into the canal and can cause trauma to the tympanic membrane.

Patients should be made aware that when OE does strike, it can usually be resolved in a short time, with few if any complications.

For patient education resources, see the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center, as well as Swimmer’s Ear.

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