It is that time of year again where the heat is rising and everyone is spending more and more days at the pool. Swimming is a fun summer pastime, however for many it ends with a bad cause of “Swimmer’s Ear”. At Virginia Hearing group we have 2 goals: Educate others about protecting your ears and hearing, and Treating any issues related to hearing loss.
Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the ear canal, that can be very dangerous to your hearing. The reason we get swimmer’s ear is that while we swim, excess moisture gets trapped in our ear which causes bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. Lucky for you, we have a few tips to avoid swimmer’s ear this summer:
Keep your ears dry
This seems simple enough, but like we said the main reason people end up getting swimmer’s ear is because of excess moisture. When you get out of the pool make sure to tilt your head to the side and gently tug your ear lobe to release the excess water trapped in the ear. After you do this, make sure to use a towel to dry the entire ear area. If you feel there is still moisture in your ear another option is to use a blow dryer. Make sure the blow dryer is on the lowest setting and hold it a foot away from your ear for about 30 seconds. Keeping your ears dry will decrease the chances of getting an infection in the ear canal.
If you are someone that is prone to getting ear infections in the summer try taking some other precautions to keep your ears dry. One option is to wear earplugs while swimming to prevent water from getting into the ear canal. Their are both disposable and reusable versions, however we suggest disposable unless you have a latex allergy.
If you don’t like wearing earplugs or find that they fall out and you still get water in your ear another option is to wear a swimming cap. Make sure to put the swim cap on properly and that the ears are completely covered to ensure water isn’t getting inside.
Be Mindful of Water Quality
A factor that can often be out of your control is the quality of the water your swimming in. Avoid swimming in water that could be contaminated . If you are swimming in a public pool, make sure it is cleaned regularly. If swimming in a body of water such as a river, pond, or lake check for pollution warnings. Swimming in dirty and contaminated water increases your risk for infection.
One at-home remedy to naturally get rid of swimmer’s ear is using a solution of rubbing alcohol and vinegar. Mix a solution of 1⁄2 rubbing alcohol and 1⁄2 vinegar. Use an eye dropper to drop a few drops in each ear, allow to sit for a few seconds, and then drain. The vinegar helps fight the infection, and the alcohol helps dry out the ear canal. If you are prone to bad swimmer’s ear, we suggest you do this every time you get out of the pool to decrease your chance of infection.
Use these tips from our Hearing Healthcare Professionals at Virginia Hearing Group, and have a fun summer!