Literature Review on Patient Demographics, Risk Factors and Causative Agents of Otomycosis

Ibrahim Abdullah , Saleh A. S. Alzaid , Mohammed F. Aljasser , Moneer O. Khwaji , Ahmed B. Ibrahim , Noor Bukhamseen , Fahad S. Al-Mutairi , Mohammed D. Alghamdi , Abdulrahman H. Jaafari


Background: Otomycosis can be defined as a fungal infection of the external auditory canal, frequently encountered in the general otolaryngology department. Otomycosis is more commonly reported in hot and humid climates and various individual as well as environmental factors predispose to this infection. Otomycosis is not only a prevalent condition but also follows a set patterns in patient demographics, predisposing factors and, causative pathogens, which we aim to explore in this review. Objectives: In this review, we intend to shed light on the prevalence of otomycosis, along with the characteristics of patients that are most commonly presented with this condition including age, gender, occupation, socioeconomic class, as well as complains. We also aim to elucidate the various predisposing risk factors that increase the likelihood of contracting otomycosis and explore the usually encountered pathogenic causes. Materials and Methods: A review of relevant articles published between the years of 1975 to 2019 in English language was done using the databases of PubMed Pico, Google Scholar and Google, using the predetermined keywords. Conclusion: Otomycosis is a prevalent fungal ear infection mostly seen in young patients between the ages of 21-30 years. Otomycosis mostly involves one ear, and bilateral involvement is mostly observed in immunodeficient patients. The most frequently reported risk factors include self-cleaning of ears with objects such as Q-tips, wooden sticks, metal pickers, instillation of mustard oil in ears, undue use of antibiotic ear drops, and swimming. Otomycosis causative organism is especially Aspergillus and Candida while concomitant bacterial infection can be seen in several cases of otomycosis, the most common implicated bacteria being staphylococcus aureus. This literature review highlights the need for education to eradicate the aforementioned predisposing risk factors to reduce the incidence of otomycosis‎.