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Dr. RayA
Dr. RayA, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 223
Experience:  Medical Doctorate(MD), with post-Doctoral training in Internal Medicine
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frequent ear infections and I have trouble cleaning my ears

Resolved Question:

I have frequent ear infections and I have trouble cleaning my ears. What can I do to avoid this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. RayA replied 8 years ago.
Hi Artval,
Are you having trouble with infections of the middle ear (otitis media) or the outer ear (otitis externa)?
Expert:  Dr. RayA replied 8 years ago.
Hi Artval,
I saw your other post, and am responding here to help keep the question consolidated in one place. Otitis externa can actually be exacerbated by frequent cleaning of the ear. Ear wax contains antibodies and other protective components that can help to keep away infection. Frequent cleaning exposes the inner ear to potential pathogens (bacteria, etc) and makes infection more likely.

If you are having repeat infections even after reducing the frequency of cleaning, you may have an infection with an "atypical" agent, such as a fungal infection, or even a small foreign body in the ear. Alternately, you may have a non-infectious cause for your otitis, such as a cholesteatoma, atopic or seborrheic dermatitis. If your doctor is having difficulty effectively treating your recurrent infections, you may want to consider being seen by an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) physician. They will be better equipped to diagnose atypical causes, and provide appropriate treatment.
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