ZocdocAnswersWhat happens if saliva gets in the ear canal?

Question

What happens if saliva gets in the ear canal?

What can happen if some else saliva gets in the ear canal what can happen?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I recommend that you discuss your concern with your doctor. The ear is designed to be both very safe and very efficient in the transport of sound. The outer canal of the ear (the external auditory canal or EAC) is lined by skin that sloughs off in a manner similar to skin of other parts of the body. The most medial part of the outer ear, the drum, is composed of 3 layers of tissue that can protect the ear further, with the outermost layer also being able to slough off as needed. As long as all of these barriers are intact, the ear is quite safe and resistant to most simple things that our skin can come into contact with. If the skin barriers are passed, however, the narrow confines of the ear can allow swelling to obstruct other parts of the canal, which then can have increased buildup of bacteria that can lead to long term problems and serious short term infections. In the specific question of saliva, it is true that there is a relatively high concentration of bacteria in saliva that is not present in the normal liquids to which the canal is exposed. Sometimes half strength rubbing alcohol can help to clean and dry the ear. Please speak with your doctor.

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

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