Yeast, also known as the candida fungus, commonly causes ear infections in humans. This usually happens when bacteria exists at the back of the mouth toward the beginning of the tubes leading to the ears. The yeast spores thrive in warm, moist places, which makes the ears a very susceptible area. Being able to look for and identify the symptoms of an ear canal infection caused by yeast can assist in appropriate treatment.
A yeast infection in the ear causes inflammation of the outer ear. Although anyone can be affected, the infection primarily affects children, swimmers and those who wear hearing aids. Due to its prevalence among swimmers, an ear yeast infection is also referred to as swimmer’s ear. As with most yeast infections, basic symptoms consist of itching, soreness or shooting pains, white discharge from the ears and difficulty sleeping (see References 1 and 2). Initially the skin around the ears turns red, and there is a feeling of fullness in the ear as well as excessive drainage. These symptoms are common to all ear infections, and it is important to see a doctor before the symptoms get worse.
Discharge and Hearing Loss
Aside from itching and soreness, white discharge is one of the most common symptoms of a yeast ear infection. The white discharge in and around the ear lobe can be cottony in texture. Infections can be recurring and lead to fluid in the ears. Often this discharge blocks the ears and hearing becomes more difficult. Although antibiotics are often prescribed by doctors, the infection can clear up on its own or with changes in hygiene or diet. If antibiotics are not effective, an anti-fungal treatment can help ease the painful symptoms (see References 2 and 3).
The earache is probably the most uncomfortable symptom, consisting of dull aches to sharp, shooting pain in the ears. The sharp pains often make sleeping difficult. Swelling in the inner ear can also lead to swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck (see Reference 2). If not cured quickly, the infection can enter the bloodstream and affect the internal organs, after which the infection is known as systemic candida disease (see Reference 1). The longer the infection remains in the ear, the worse the pain becomes, and the infection becomes more resistant to treatment over time.