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Otitis Externa F014

Last amended 
8 October 2018

In this section

Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
58 of 2012
Balance of Probabilities SOP
59 of 2012
Changes from previous Instruments

SOP Bulletin 161

ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 112.82,380.10,380.12-380.16,380.22,380.23
  • ICD-10-AM Codes: H60,H62.0,H62.1,H62.2,H62.3,H62.4
Brief description

This is an infection of the external ear canal or a non-infective inflammation of the external ear canal. It does not involve the middle ear or the inner ear.  It will most often be unilateral.

This condition can be part of a wider skin condition which also affects the ears. The ear manifestation of the skin condition comes under this RMA instrument.

Confirming the diagnosis

The diagnosis is made on clinical grounds and can be made by the treating GP.

The relevant medical specialist is an ENT surgeon

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • Acute otitis externa
  • Chronic otitis externa
  • Swimmer’s ear
Conditions excluded from SOP
  • Otitis media*
  • Otitis interna#
  • Neoplasm of ear canal
  • Hyperostosis of the ear canal#

* Another SOP applies

# Non-SOP condition

Clinical onset

This condition can be a one-off acute infection, or there can be recurrent discrete episodes, or there can be an underlying problem resulting in a chronic or relapsing course.  In the absence of an underlying chronic cause each episode will represent a new clinical onset.  For chronic or relapsing otitis externa, the clinical onset will be the first episode triggered by the underlying problem.

Clinical worsening

Clinical worsening will generally only be relevant for chronic or relapsing otitis exterma.