External otitis in the diver

External otitis, or infection of the skin of the external auditory canal, is one of the most common conditions in divers; repeated contact with water causes maceration of the skin in the canal, which alters its defense mechanisms, promoting germ proliferation, leading to local inflammation and discharge.
Dibujo de otitis externa en buceador

The main symptoms of external otitis are itching and pain, which usually worsen when touching the auricle, sometimes accompanied by otorrhea or discharge and hypoacusis or hearing loss.

Although not very common, untreated external otitis can spread to the cartilage or underlying bone, so early treatment is recommended. Ideally, the first step is to clean the external auditory canal by aspiration, followed by medical treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, either applied topically (drops, ointments) or administered systemically (orally or parenterally).

Divers prone to this type of otitis can apply a solution with drying and antiseptic properties, such as boric alcohol, Burow’s solution, or solutions of acetic acid and alcohol, before and after dives.