Purpose of review: Although uncommon, acquired external auditory canal stenosis is an entity that is encountered by many otolaryngologists. This paper reviews the causes, pathogenesis, assessment, and management options for external auditory canal stenosis.
Recent findings: Initially, acquired external auditory canal stenosis was described as resulting from a number of different causes. Since then, histology and imaging studies of this disease have shown that a common cascade of inflammatory changes resulting from these different causes is the primary pathogenesis leading to medial canal fibrosis. Once there is complete obstruction of the external auditory canal, surgery is the primary treatment. Understanding the strong role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of external auditory canal stenosis may lead to new preventative medical therapies.
Summary: Although acquired external auditory canal was described several years ago, its underlying pathophysiology is now better understood. From this knowledge, improved medical as well as surgical approaches can be developed.