External Otitis and Ear Inflammation


External Otitis and Ear Inflammation.


This Illness or affection is common for Spear fishers, Divers or Swimmers, especially in summer months and in dirty or contaminated water with more microorganism or “life” in it such as plankton.

Illness begins when one spends long time in water, where ear canal gets softer and easier affected by bacteria. It all starts by small inflammation, burning feel and then develops to ear infection.

Treatment is relatively straight forward. Person should visit a doctor, who will prescribe ear drops (Antibiotics and Cortisone) and in week to 10 days of treatment, infection should be gone. However, many times visit of doctors and pharmacy is not necessary, as we can prevent this to happen in first place.

It is recommended to dry ears well, when out of water, not using cotton buds, as they scratch ear canal and make access for bacteria easier.

There is an easy trick, which works very well and is very effective. Ear drops made with 50% of white vinegar and water (same we use for cooking). Other ear drops are made from boric acid and alcohol, some individuals may experience problems with them. They dry out the skin and can cause skin burning, so we recommend white vinegar.

Just mix clean water and vinegar 50:50 and put few drops inside the ear canal, wait minute or two and wipe dry. With this simple step we can prevent External Otitis.

Also very mild starts of this illness can be cured using similar method just don’t mix it with water this time, use 100% vinegar. And there is no need for antibiotics.

Obviously, if one experience strong pain, fever or any other hard symptom we should visit doctor as soon as possible.


There are few symptoms: Inflammation of ear canal, pain when touching canal, pain when pulling on outer ear or touching bone behind outer ear. Usually hearing is affected, hearing noise like wearing an ear plug.

At beginning there is only minor pain, usually next day after diving, and then it increases. First we feel burning only when we insert finger in ear canal, then inflammation increases and gets more painful. Vinegar trick is one of first steps, trying to cure this problem, but when we keep experiencing same problem and more pain, lot of burning pain (irritation, suppuration, and pain behind ear)

We can see the Eardrum (tímpano) and where usually start inflammation and infection

… It is time to visit doctor, immediately!

Otitis evolution and Treatment:

  • First of all, once out of water, without any symptoms. In the car or when arrived home put few drops of vinegar mix in ear canals and after minute or two dry your ears.
  • If starting to feel discomfort, same night or next day, use vinegar ( this time not diluted)
  • If still experiencing little bit of pain use anti inflammatory tablets ( ibuprofen ) and vinegar drops, Ibuprofen 3 times a day recommended dose every 8 hrs and drops 4 times a day  ( morning, midday, evening and night )
  • If it gets worse, go to the doctor, He will probably prescribe antibiotics and cortisone ear drops.

I experienced External Otitis myself few weeks ago and Vinegar trick has helped me to get out of it…

If you are experiencing:

  • Ear secretions
  • You are not getting any better and symptoms are worse
  • Fever or rubbery feeling around outer ear
  • It is important you don’t have eardrum perforation ( ask your doctor )

This small article is only informative or to be used only as prevention. Always consult your doctor if in doubt. Always be sure you don’t have problem with your eardrum. I don’t accept any responsibility for misconception of this article. Method stated above is to be used on your own risk.

If you have any questions contact us on forum.