Prevent Swimmer's Ear This Summer With These Smart Tips
Swimmer's ear is a common infection of the outer ear associated with moisture that allows germs to grow. Although this condition can be painful, these five simple preventive steps can ward off swimmer's ear this season.
Shield the Ears From Moisture
Cover the ears with a shower cap to keep water out when you swim or shower. You can also block the ear from moisture with a cotton ball, but take care to keep it out of the ear canal. Earplugs are the best choice for those who swim regularly or competitively.
Practice Post-Swim Ear Hygiene
After swimming, completely clean and dry the ears to remove infection-causing bacteria. If you feel the sensation of water in your ear, gently tip your head to the side until it runs out. When you cannot completely dry the ear safely by hand, try using the airflow from a blow dryer on a cool setting.
Consider Home Remedies
If your doctor approves, try mixing a solution of one part vinegar with one part rubbing alcohol. Put one drop in your ears after you swim to help absorb moisture. However, discontinue use right away if the drops irritate your skin.
Cleaning the ears harshly can cause tiny cuts and abrasions that allow an infection to enter. Do not insert Q-tips or other objects into the ear canal. Instead, seek professional cleaning from a health care provider if you think you have too much wax in your ears.
Choose Clean Water
When you swim, make sure you do so in a hygienic environment. If you have a pool at home, clean it and test the water regularly to prevent bacterial growth. If you aren't sure whether a pool is clean, do not swim. As for lakes and streams, make sure they have a sign that says swimming is safe before wading or swimming.
Sometimes, swimmer's ear causes temporary hearing loss because the infection limits sound absorption. However, if this symptom does not resolve after treatment, consider a consultation at High Level Speech & Hearing Center. We provide comprehensive hearing services including testing, diagnosis, and treatment with hearing aids where applicable. Call 504-345-2984 to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in New Orleans and Harahan.