Summer is in full swing, and who doesn’t want to be in the water when it’s hot out? Swimming is fun, but what’s not fun is swimmer’s ear.
You may not have known that swimmer’s ear is really an ear infection that results from bacteria in the ear canal, which multiplies when there is trapped water. Of course the best thing is to avoid Swimmer’s Ear; so below are some tips to do that:
Get it Out!
We know that swimmer’s ear is caused by trapped water in the ear canal, so if you can eliminate that moisture the bacteria can’t grow and cause the issue. If you can feel water in your ears after swimming, dry your ears as thoroughly as you can with a towel. Then if you can still feel something in there, try using a cool hair dryer to dry out the parts you couldn’t reach. Though some people use rubbing alcohol and it can be effective, frequent use of rubbing alcohol can actually increase risk of infection in the future.
Ear Plugs (For Swimmers)
Swimming ear plugs can be a great way to completely prevent wetness inside your ear canal. It’s important that they are made specifically for swimming, or they won’t work, and that they fit your ear perfectly, or they won’t keep the water out and may trap more. Ask your audiologist if you aren’t sure which ones to get.
You can buy “swimmer’s ear” ear drops over the counter at most drug stores and they work well for an occasional issue. Home remedies also include rubbing alcohol (used sparingly as mentioned above), white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or even olive oil. Since hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol kill bacteria (even the good ones!) they can cause an imbalance which leads to more infection in the future, so those should be used sparingly.
Additionally, if the issue is actually caused by too much earwax, over the counter swimmer’s ear drops won’t help. And don’t use ear drops if you have a ruptured ear drum or synthetic ear tubes.
Healthy Ears are Happy Ears
As with most things, health and balance are key and can go a long way to preventing any issues that may arise.
There is something you can do to ensure your ears are healthy: keep your skin biome balanced and healthy! If you have cracked, dry skin in your ears, infection can follow. So what do you do if you have dry, flaky skin around or inside of your ears? try these tips:
- Don’t use antibacterial soaps or creams
- Avoid scratching or cutting your ears
- Keep your ears dry
- Don’t use sharp or pointy objects in your ears, including cotton swabs.
- Clean gently. See your doctor or audiologist if you have excessive ear wax.
Remember these preventative tips to minimize your risk of any infection (including Swimmer’s Ear). And don’t forget: annual screenings with your audiologist are important for maintaining hearing health and ear health.
The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646