Fungal infection of ear canal, also called as Otomycosis. It is a superficial fungal infection of the external auditory canal. It is the most frequently encountered fungal infection in ear, nose and throat clinics. The organisms responsible for this clinical entity are usually fungi especially A. niger. The fungi are usually secondary invaders of tissue already rendered susceptible by bacterial infections; physical injury or excessive accumulation of wax in the external auditory canal.
The fungus tends to grow in humid, dark and warm areas and ear canal is one of the best places, especially in the rainy season. Excessive use of antibiotic ear drops may also be a cause of fungal infection of the ear.
The fungal infection of the ear canal usually presents with a itching, irritation, discomfort, pain and scanty discharge from the affected ear. Patients also complain of feeling a blockage in the ear due to collection of fungal material in the canal. Sometimes irritation is so severe that patients tend to insert pins or sharp material in the canal leading to further injury or bleeding from the canal.
Pruritus and discharge are the most common symptoms which are usually unilateral but bilateral involvement is also been seen. There is greenish or black fuzzy growth on in the canal resembling wet ‘blotting paper with black dots’, which may fill up the entire canal.
Careful drying and cleaning of external auditory canal is the first step in treatment, which is done preferably by suction evacuation by an ENT Specialist. The topical therapy with antifungal or other antimicrobial agents is also necessary.
After cleaning the canal, antifungal drops are given. Because the infection can persist asymptomatically, the patient should be re-evaluated at the end of the course of treatment.