Otitis externa is an inflammatory condition of the external auditory canal (the ear canal). It is characterised by redness, swelling, scaling and thickening of the canal skin lining and is accompanied by varying degrees of discomfort, itch, deafness and discharge.
The causes of otitis externa can be split into two main groups: those caused by bacterial or fungal infection and those by non-infectious dermatological conditions. Bacterial infections are the most common cause of otitis externa. Primary skin disorders are often precipitants of infectious otitis externa, but they can also be the sole cause of otitis externa.
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