Otomycosis (ear fungus) is a fungal infection in the ears that seems to be a problem for people who live in warm areas of the world. Avid swimmers, individuals who suffer from diabetes or people who have chronic medical and skin conditions can also experience ear fungus.
Otomycosis is also called mycotic otitis externa or Singapore ear. The infection is generally present on the external part of the ear. Aspergillus or Candida is commonly known fungi linked with a fungus of the ear, but there are others.
By just coming in contact with fungi doesn’t mean that you will get otomycosis ear. If you are having a weak immune system, you are at a higher risk of getting ear fungus if you come in contact with fungi.
Diagnosis of Otomycosis
If you experience pain, fluid discharge, or hearing difficulty, you should visit a doctor immediately. The quicker you get a proper diagnosis, the sooner you can have your treatment and start feeling like yourself again.
A diagnosis will only be made after a doctor has seen your medical history and conducted a thorough physical examination. Normally an otoscope, which is a device used to look inside the ears will be used.
A swab of your ear may also be taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. The test looks at organisms under a microscope. This can help to find out if there are fungi involved and what kind of fungi it can be. Treatment is generally based on the type of fungi an individual is having.
Symptoms of Otomycosis
There are a number of otomycosis symptoms that can indicate that you need to take medical attention.
Some of the signs and symptoms can be painful, but going to a doctor as early as possible can ease the discomfort both physically and psychologically.
Here are some of the typical otomycosis (ear fungus) symptoms:
- Difficulty in hearing
- Redness in external section of the ear canal
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Discharge of fluid from the ears (white, yellow, black, gray, or green)
- Ringing in the ear
- Flaky skin
- Narrowing of external ear canal
- Plugged ear
There are some instances where both ears can have a fungal infection at the same time though, it is common for people to experience symptoms in just one ear. When it does occur in both ears and the ears feel plugged, some people mistake the condition for going deaf.
Treatment for Otomycosis
When someone has been diagnosed with otomycosis, their mind quickly shifts to ear fungus removal. There are 5 main ways that doctors normally take to address otomycosis treatment. The list below explains them:
- Cleaning: Cleaning the ear fungus from the affected ear can allow for better penetration of other treatments, including ear drops.
- Eardrops: Some eardrops contain antifungal agents.
- Antifungal agents: Some antifungal agents are topical, while others, such as itraconazole, are tablets. Tablets are generally given for severe cases.
- Aluminum acetate: This is a liquid that has been known to be very effective in treating ear fungus when used at least three times daily for at least a week.
- Hydrogen peroxide: This can be used to soften the hard crust that builds up as a result of the infection. Extracting the crust allows for other topical treatments to focus the ear.
- Oral medications: These medications are not for everyone, especially those who are suffering from liver disease, but some examples include fluconazole and ketoconazole.
- Despite of the fact that what most of the people think antibiotics do not kill fungal growth. In fact, they can make fungal infections even worse.
It is very important to know that cleaning the ear when you are having a fungal infection is not as easy as you might think. Ear fungus treatment is best when it is left to a medical professional.