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Ear infection and headphones
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Ear infection and headphones

My young adult son has just developed his third case of "swimmer's ear"  The first case was combined with an inner ear infection that got very bad very quickly. The second and third were "swimmer's ear".  He doesn't swim!  He is a computer science major and game developer so he spend lots of time at the computer and usually wears noise reducing headphones both to keep out the sound and listen to music etc.  Is it possible that the head phones create a moist environment that breeds infection?
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Avatar_n_tn
Firstly he did not have a inner ear infection. That would be an infection within the cochlea. He had a middle ear infection, and apparently now he has an outer ear infection. (an infection within the external auditory canal/ear canal) The middel ear infection could not possibly be caused by the ear buds/insert ear phones he has been using... it is just not anatomically possible.

Is it possible that they have caused an infection within the ear canal?  Yes and no. They themselves, if clean should not pose any real harm, but if they have any bacteria on them, and he is then introducing the bacteria into the ear canal... I would imagine it is possible. The ear canal has pores within it just as we do on our face. Those pores can become blocked, filled with bacteria and become infected. It can be really painful.

Once he is over this infection he may want to consider getting some custom fit IEMs (In ear monitors) that I would imagine would cause less pressure in the ears. (Which I believe, would be less prone to irritate the ear canal.)

Custom fit IEMs can be provided by:

Westone
Ultimateears
Starkey
FullCircle

FullCircle is a new company that provides very high quality custom IEMs but are fabricated in Asia so the costs are at least 50% cheaper than the IEMs made in America. The quality is the same if not better. If you want to work with them, send me a message.

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Avatar_n_tn
You do not have to be a swimmer to get "swimmers ear"  You can get it from getting too much water in your ear in the shower.  Try ear plugs in the shower to keep water from getting in there, my husband has to do that because if he gets water in his ear, he gets the same problems.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a similar issue that I believe originates from the use of headphones.  The warm moist environment caused bacteria or fungus to grow and resulted in extremely itchy ear canals (both) that would sometimes weep and drive me crazy!  I think the constant irritation has made it easier for water to get in my ears while showering and the pores in my ear canal are swollen and painful.  Right now, my ears feel like they do after a plane ride.  I know that I need to see a doctor, but don't have one.  Not sure if I should go to a clinic or see an ENT specialist.  Any suggestions?
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