Hello & welcome!
If you have any questions after reading my answer, be sure to let me know.
Swimmer's ear is ALSO an infection of the ear. The difference is that in a 'routine' ear infection you have infection of the middle ear. While in case of Swimmer's ear the infection is in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. It's often brought on by water
that remains in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth.
The first symptom of swimmer's ear is that the ear will feel full, and it may itch. Next, the ear canal will swell, and ear drainage will follow. At this stage the ear will be very painful, especially with movement of the outside portion of the ear. THIS is the key in differentiating it from a regular ear infection. In a regular ear infection movement of the outside of the ear (pinna) is NOT painful. In a swimmer's ear the outer ear has very painful movement.
Since both these conditions require prescription medicines like antibiotics for treatment, I would urge you to consult a doctor for the same ASAP,
Please get back for any clarifications,
Dr Gupta, MD