Introduction: Otomycosis is a fungal infection of external auditory canal frequently encountered by otorhinolaryngologists. It causes discomfort to patients with varied symptoms of pruritus, otorrhea, aural fullness and earache. People with a habit of using unnecessary ear drops, cleaning ear with unsterilized objects and those who use mustard oil are all prone to otomycosis. This study aims to find out the association between otomycosis and its predisposing factors. Methods: This study was undertaken in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of a tertiary hospital from March 2018 to February 2019 and a total of 300 clinically diagnosed cases of otomycosis were enrolled for the study. Results: The mean age ±SD of the patients was 37.7 ± 18.8 years. Females (n=172, 57.3%) were more prone to otomycosis than males (n=128, 42.7%). The most common presenting symptom was pruritus only (n=95, 31.7%) with unilateral involvement being more common. The most common predisposing factor was mustard oil instillation (n=124, 41.3%). Aspergillus niger was the most common fungus causing otomycosis in this study (n=105, 34.7%). Positive fungal cultures were observed in 285 specimens (95%). The fungal growth (n=285) was high in patients with the history of instilling mustard oil (42.8%) into the ear, 34.0% in topical steroid containing ear drops and 23.2% in self-cleaning group. Conclusion: Otomycosis is common in people using unnecessary steroid containing ear drops, cleaning ear with unsterilized objects and instillation of mustard oil.

Keywords: Otitis externa, Otomycosis, Predisposing factor