Interesting Case Studies

A Painful Ear

A 35 year old lady experienced a dull ache in her right ear for the duration of a week. She was initially treated with oral antibiotics and antibiotics ear drops by a neighbourhood general practitioner (GP) and was told to have an ear infection. However her condition worsened despite the treatment and she was referred by her GP for further evaluation.

What we did:
She was examined by our doctor using a microscope which allows a significantly, magnified view of her ear. This picture illustrates the physical finding of blackish debris and spore looking material lining her ear canal.

Fungal infection of ear canal (otomycosis)

She underwent a thorough suction cleaning of the fungal debris in the clinic. This is easily done using a vacuum suctioning device in the clinic premise and is generally not painful. She was also treated with anti-fungus ear drops which she instilled over the next week.

About the condition: Fungus infection of the ear is a very common problem in a place like Singapore, which is usually hot and humid. Fungal spores proliferate in our human ears if it is moist and when left unattended, will initiate an inflammatory process in the skin of the ear canal, resulting in pain and discharge. Treatment requires a proper ear suctioning and cleaning followed by anti-fungus ear drops and is usually successfully treated within a week.

Contributed by: Dr Eng Soh Ping Elliot