Swimmer’s ear can be painful and can quickly put a damper on your plans for days. Don’t let swimmer’s ear derail your fun activities this season; follow our easy tips for prevention.
What Is Swimmer’s Ear?
This condition, officially called otitis externa, is an infection and swelling of the external part of the ear and can be caused by extended time spent in moist environments, including pools, spas, and beaches. After any kind of swimming, water can become trapped in the ear canal, an ideal space for bacteria to thrive and multiply.
Treating swimmer’s ear often involves antibiotic and anti-inflammatory ear drops. For more severe cases, oral antibiotics and pain medications may be necessary. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the water for several days when swimmer’s ear occurs.
How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
Follow these tips to keep swimmer’s ear at bay all season long:
- Preventive ear drops. If you’re a regular swimmer, consider the use of preventive ear drops. These can be purchased over the counter or made at home with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
- Dry ears after swimming. Let water drain properly from your ears after swimming by tipping from side to side. You can also use a hairdryer, but just be cautious of excess heat and noise.
- Leave wax alone. A little bit of wax in the ears can help keep moisture out, so don’t remove too much.
- Remove piercings. Earring and other piercing areas can be more prone to infection, so it’s best to remove piercings before swimming.
- Check the cleanliness of the swimming area. You shouldn’t swim at a beach with a high bacteria count, so check this out before you go. Only swim in pools and spas that are clean as well.
- Use earplugs. Protective gear designed for swimmers, such as earplugs and bathing caps, can help keep moisture out of the ears.
For more information on swimmer’s ear or any other questions about ears and hearing, reach out to Bay Area Audiology.