In order to diagnose swimmer's ear, your healthcare provider will ask you about any past health and any symptoms you have presently. He or she will give you a physical exam. Your provider will look into both of your ears. Your provider may check your ears using a lighted tool known as an otoscope. This will determine the type of swimmer's ear you have and how best to treat the infection. It will also allow the doctor to determine whether you have a concurrent infection of the middle ear, as sometimes people suffer from both types of infections at the same time. If you have pus draining from your ears, your provider may take a sample known as a culture. The sample is taken on a cotton swab placed gently in your external ear canal and sent to the lab to find out what is causing the infection. With proper treatment from a healthcare provider, swimmer's ear often clears up in 7-10 days.
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