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An outer ear infection (otitis externa) is when your outer ear canal becomes inflamed, painful and itchy. Outer ear infection (otitis externa) is usually caused by bacteria. But it may be caused by a fungal infection, especially if you’ve already had antibiotics for a bacterial infection. ​​​​​​​

Outer ear infections can be classified depending on how long they last and how much of your ear canal is infected.

The most common symptoms of an outer ear infection include:

If your symptoms are particularly severe or they don’t get better after treatment or they come back, a ear swab is useful this will be sent to a laboratory for testing to find out whether the cause of your ear infection is bacterial or a fungus.