Swimmer’s ear is a term typically used to describe Otitis Externa, otherwise known as an outer ear infection. An outer ear infection affects the ear canal from the opening to the eardrum. These infections can be painful, have a distinct odor, cause drainage, and potentially a hearing loss. Here are a few tips on how to prevent swimmer’s ear.
What Causes Swimmer’s Ear
The condition can be caused by several factors such as an injury to the ear canal or excessive wax accumulation. The most common cause of an outer ear infection is the buildup of stagnant water in the ear canal, causing a breeding ground for bacteria. High-risk populations for this infection include frequent swimmers and divers, hence the term “Swimmer’s Ear”.
How To Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
Prevention is key to the management and treatment of an outer ear infection. With the right precautions, swimmer’s ear can be avoided. Here are a few ways to prevent swimmer’s ear:
● Keep Your Ears Dry – The easiest and most common way to prevent swimmer’s ear is to keep your ears dry. Dry your outer ear thoroughly with a soft towel after a swim or bath.
● Use Earplugs When You Swim – If you’re going swimming, use custom-molded earplugs. The use of swim plugs can prevent water from entering the ear canal and causing infection. Swim plugs have also been shown to improve comfort during swimming activities.
● Maintain Proper Ear Hygiene – The ear protects itself from foreign bodies and dryness by producing ear wax. This is an important component of the auditory system; therefore, it is recommended to lightly clean the outer ear to maintain a healthy environment for the ear canal.
● Use Ear Drops Before and After a Swim – Applying ear drops can be very helpful in preventing swimmer’s ear. Over-the-counter solutions are readily available in pharmacies and grocery stores.
● Avoid Sticking Objects In Your Ears – Don’t insert anything into your ear to remove earwax. This includes your fingers, cotton swabs, and other small items. This can severely damage the ear canal and possibly rupture your eardrum.
These are great recommendations to prevent swimmer’s ear. Keep these tips and tricks in mind, especially during the Summertime! For more information related to ears and hearing, get in touch with The Hearing Doctor. Call or send us an email to schedule an appointment.