Swimmer's ear, also known as otitis externa, is the inflammation of the outer
ear and ear canal. It is usually caused by excess water exposure.
It should be noted that children suffering from eczema or seborrhea are at
greater risk of contracting swimmers ear. Some causes of swimmers ear
-swimming in dirty or polluted water
-being consistently in a moist environment
-chemical irritants from shampoos, hair dyes, or hairsprays making way into
-the cleaning of the ears with anything, including fingernails or cotton buds, can
potentially cause a tear in the tissues of the ear canal, increasing vulnerability
-bacteria entering the ears
Symptoms of Swimmers Ear include:
-pain or itch within the ear
-decrease in hearing
-earwax appearing soft and white
-sudden or sharp pain within the ear
-feeling of congestion within the ear
-yellowish or milky discharge from the ear
Blow Dry Your Ears- Because moisture is a great contributor towards
swimmers ear, you should dry them out every time after exposure. Simply
adjust the setting of the blow-dryer to Low or Warm and position it about 16 to
18 inches away from your ear. Now, while holding your ear open, allow the air to
gently blow into your ear canal for at least 30 seconds.
Try Ear Plugs- Wax or silicone earplugs are available at most drugstores. You
should use the plugs both during swimming and bathing.
The Surface Swimming Cure- If you don't have an earplug or don't have one
handy at the time, simply swimming on the surface of the water rather than
under will prevent the larger amounts of fluid from leaking into your ear.
Cure Using Warm Compressions- The application of a warm towel or heating
pad to the ear can help greatly in relieving pain and soothing the ear.
The Alcohol Drop Cure- Alcohol is a drying agent as well as a bacteria killer
that can help fight swimmers ear upon its entry into the ear canal. To gain its
benefits, first put your head down with the affected ear up. Next, squirt a
dropperful of alcohol into the affected ear and allow the fluid to flow through your
ear for 15 to 20 seconds. Finally, tilt your head in the opposite fashion to allow
the alcohol to flow out.
Mineral Oils- Baby oils, mineral oils, or lanolin can all be used in a similar
fashion to the alcohol as a preventive measure before swimming.
White Vinegar- White vinegar is another home remedy noted for its ability to
prevent swimmers ear. Apply in a similar fashion to the alcohol.
Prevent Swimmer's Ear With Clean Water- Another major contributing factor
of swimmers ear is bacteria. Rather than swimming in a dirty pond, try to swim
in waters that are cleaner.
Keep Your Earwax- Earwax is a natural defense against bacteria and insects.
Despite its ugly appearance, it serves a very important role in protecting you
against swimmers ear. Do not attempt to swab the wax out.
Hearing Aids Can Cause Swimmer's Ear- One that uses hearing aids but
doesn't enter the water can still become affected by swimmers ear. Hearing
aids trap moisture that enters the ear. This moisture, when inhabiting the ear
for extended periods of time, can breed new bacteria and cause infection. To
prevent new bacteria and infection from occurring, remove your hearing aids as
often as possible to allow your ear to dry out.
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