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Eczema in the ear canal

Eczema meatus acusticus externus (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Eczema in the ear canal is a condition commonly seen in adults, but schoolchildren can also be affected. It is estimated that 10% of all at one time get eczema in the ear canal.


The condition is often caused by increased moisture in the air or that water has flowed into the ear canal. The disorder is therefore seen particularly frequently when you are on holiday in the hot countries with the use of swimming pool. People who use hearing aids also have an increased risk.

Itching and pain in the ear canal may be signs of eczema. The pain is often very pronounced. 

There may also be some fluid out of the ear. Many at the same time have easy hearing loss. If you pull outwards in your ear, the pain is worse. 

Eczema in the ear canal is often complicated with inflammation, where bacteria or fungi grow in the ear canal. In case of inflammation, itching and pain in the ear canal increase.

What can you do?

You can prevent the condition by avoiding touching, itching or cleaning the ear canal. It is misunderstood hygiene to clean your ear with a cotton swab. It can lead to eczema and inflammation in the ear canal. If you have previously had eczema in the ear canal, keep your head over the water - especially if you are swimming in a swimming pool or spa. If water has penetrated the ear canal, wipe the ear with a hair dryer. It is not recommended to use earplugs during bathing. Avoid bathing completely if you have eczema in the ear canal. Pain relief medicine can ease the pain.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If you suspect eczema in the ear canal. The doctor can prescribe ear drops against eczema and inflammation.

Contact the doctor immediately

If the condition is not improved within a few days after using ear drops, consult your doctor again. The doctor can clean your ear canal with a suck and put a dressing wet with medicine into your ear canal.