What Causes an Outer Ear Infection?

What Causes an Outer Ear Infection?

Swimming (or possibly even bathing or showering too frequently) can lead to an outer ear infection. The water left inside the ear canal can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

An infection can also occur if the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal is injured. Intense scratching, using headphones, or placing cotton swabs in your ear can damage this delicate skin.

When this layer of skin becomes damaged and inflamed, it can provide a foothold for bacteria. Cerumen (earwax) is the ear’s natural defense against infection, but constant exposure to moisture and scratching can deplete the ear of cerumen, making infections more likely.