ZocdocAnswersWhy won't my ear infection go away?

Question

Why won't my ear infection go away?

I have had an ear infection for around 3 months. Why? I've been using a swimmer's ear otc that seems to help, but it never goes away. What should I do?

Answer

If you have been dealing with this for 3 months, you should go see a doctor, starting probably with your primary care doctor. Sometimes these infections will not clear up on their own or with over the counter remedies. I am assuming that, since you are using a swimmer's ear preparation, this means that you are having drainage from and perhaps pain in the ear. This could be due to either an otitis externa, which is an infection in the out ear canal, or an otitis media, or middle ear infection, that has ruptured the ear drum. Your primary care doctor will be able to look in your ear and determine which of these two infections you have. This is an important distinction, because the treatment is sometimes different. If you have just an otitis externa, this can be cleared up with good regular ear hygiene and some antibiotic drops that your doctor can prescribe for you. On the other hand, if this is a middle ear infection, it may require that you take an oral antibiotic, which again your doctor can give you. Also, if you have a middle ear infection with ear drum rupture, you may need followup with a specialist after the infection clears up to make sure that you have not had any hearing loss. In the meantime, please talk to your primary care doctor about this as well.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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