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More than 200,000 new cases of otitis externa, otherwise known as swimmer's ear, are diagnosed each year. This condition, which can be very painful, can develop due to various factors and usually resolves without complications within two or three weeks. Swimmers and those who sweat profusely or live in moist, humid environments are at increased risk of developing otitis externa, since most bacteria thrive in wet conditions. The very young and the very old are at particular risk for this condition.

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1. What is otitis externa?

Otitis externa, often referred to as swimmer's ear, is an inflammation of the ear canal, the tube that spans the space between the eardrum and outer ear. Moisture offers bacteria a favorable environment, thus putting frequent swimmers and those who live in a wet environment at greater risk.

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