Swimming is fun, plain and simple. Whether you’re in a pool, at the lake or on the river. It’s a time-honored tradition to beat the heat. But where there is water there lies a chance you could be putting your ears at risk.
Swimmer’s ear (also known as otitis externa) is a bacterial infection typically caused by water that stayed in the outer ear canal for a long period of time (CDC). This is most commonly found in children but can happen to the best of us. But there are simple and easy ways to help prevent an outer ear infection according to the CDC:
- Keep ears as dry as possible
- Use a bathing cap, ear plugs, or custom-fitted swim molds when swimming.
- Dry ears thoroughly after swimming or showering.
- Use a towel to dry ears well.
- Tilt head back and forth so that each ear faces down to allow water to escape the ear canal.
- Pull earlobe in different directions when ear faces down to help water drain out.
- If there is still water in the ear, consider using a hair dryer to move air within the ear canal.
- Put the hair dryer on the lowest heat and speed/fan setting.
- Hold the hair dryer several inches from ear.
The Center for Hearing offers custom swim plugs in a variety of colors (your choice), and the best part is, they float!
The summers seem to get shorter every year. But getting an ear infection can make them seem like they last a lifetime. So be prepared by keeping your ears clean so you can enjoy the full summer fun!