Swimmer's ear is an infection of the skin lining the ear canal. Bacteria can enter the skin of the ear canal and cause an infection through a scratch, injury from a foreign object, or if the ear is wet for a prolonged period of time. Swimmer's ear is more common in pre-school and school-age children. Symptoms include itching and pain in the ear canal, which is often accompanied by a small amount of clear discharge.
Review Date 8/29/2020
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.