What Are the Most Common Symptoms of a Fungal Infection in the Ear?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2016
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Otomycosis is a fungal infection of the ear, and it is sometimes referred to as otitis externa. It can occur in either the outer ear or the ear canal, and the symptoms include pain, scaly skin, and itching in the affected area. In severe cases, there may be visible fungus and discharge, both of which can cause hearing problems.

Pain is one of the more common signs of a fungal infection in the ear. This is usually very similar to a regular earache. Often, the pain associated with a fungal infection will worsen as the infection progresses, and sometimes, it may get so severe that it may interrupt a person's sleep.

Dry skin surrounding the affected area is also common, and the skin may become scaly and flake off. When this happens inside the ear, it may itch intensely. Itching generally, also called pruritis, is another very common symptom of a fungal infection. This sensation can be very frustrating when it occurs in the ear canal, since this area really isn't somewhere that can be scratched. Patients should not put anything in the ear canal that could damage the eardrum.

If a fungal infection in the ear goes untreated, it will typically keep getting worse. In some cases, the fungus may be visible when looking closely at the ear. It will usually be brown or almost black in color, although sometimes it may have a brownish green color.


Along with visible fungus, a person may also experience pus or other discharge from the ear, which is usually quite foul smelling. Sometimes, it will be visible, but other times, a sufferer may not notice it until he cleans his ears. If the ear drum is punctured, there may also be a bloody discharge.

A buildup of fungus, wax, and pus can lead to a blockage in the ear canal. Along with a feeling of pressure, this can also lead to temporary hearing problems. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, for example, is another common symptom of a fungal infection. Some patients may even lose their hearing until the infection is treated.

When treating these types of infections, healthcare providers will usually carefully remove any fungus and other material blocking the ear canal. Typically, antifungal ear drops will then be prescribed. In some cases, corticosteroids may also be prescribed to relieve inflammation and itching.


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Post 1

I caught an itchy ear after using one of my ex girlfriend's clean cotton buds. It was in a packet where the cotton buds stood on their ends. My ex must have scratched her ear then went for a cotton bud. It took me three years to work out what was wrong and get rid of it. I tried anti fungals, antibiotic drops etc.

What cured it was that I went to see a doctor and argued with her about it. She then took a sample of my ear wax and sent it off for analysis. It came back that I had a lot of bacteria present which is the same type that you get in polluted water. The report

recommended which medications would kill the bacteria.

I got Sofradex and within one and a half weeks was cured. I used more drops than were recommended and for longer, using up the whole bottle as I wanted to make sure that the bacteria were dead. I also ear candled once.

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