By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADEPHIA (CBS) - The terms are otitis media and otitis externa — great medical terms as only medical language can provide. They mean outer ear infection and inner ear infection.
It is the outer ear infection that is a bigger factor this time of year. It is the classic swimmer’s ear which is the result of an irritation to the ear canal.
People with swimmer’s ear have pain that can be made worse simply by touching the ear or pulling on the ear lobe. Usually we give drops that can help with the pain and treat the problem.
As for the otitis media, this inner ear infection was once almost always treated by antibiotics and now we have realized that we don’t always need these drugs.
I know it sounds complicated but it is actually simple. My advice is that you don’t live with the pain. You can, and should, get help.