With summer just around the corner, you may find yourself diving into the pool more frequently. While swimming is a great way to relax, it can expose your ears to excess moisture, allowing water to collect in your your ear canal and cause infections and other problems. In this article, you will learn about swimmer's ear and the precautions you can take to protect yourself against it.
What is swimmer's ear?
If your head ends up completely submerged under water during swimming, chances are that water will enter your ear and collect in the ear canal. If the water isn't able to drain properly due to the shape or size of the canal, it can cause a condition caused swimmer's ear where you experience itching and reddening inside the ear as well as decreased hearing.
The moisture trapped in your ear can also allow for rapid growth of bacteria, leading to more serious infections. It is important that you see a hearing doctor as soon as you experience swimmer's ear to prevent complications and get better hearing.
Precautions to prevent swimmer's ear
There are steps you can take to avoid getting swimmer's ear while still enjoying swimming.
First, always avoid swimming in dirty or murky water, as it is likely to contain high levels of bacteria that can cause ear canal infections. It is preferable that you only swim in a sanitized pool or in beach areas with no 'High Bacteria Level' signs.
You should also avoid using cotton swabs to remove excessive moisture in your ears, as they can cause injury or push debris further into your inner ear. If you have water in your ears after a dip in the pool, slightly tilt your head so as to allow the water to flow out naturally. If the water doesn't come out, seek help from a hearing care professional.
Use custom-fit swimmer's plugs
The best way to prevent swimmer's ear and subsequent infections is to use silicone swimmer's plugs. Using a custom-fit pair of plugs would offer superior protection compared to one-size-fits-all retail designs that could get loose and fall off, making your inner ear prone to water infiltration.
Talk to your hearing care expert about having a pair of plugs made from a mold of your outer ear, which would create a near-perfect seal. Be sure not to use foam plugs, as they are designed to block off sound and not moisture.
The above tips and protective gear can allow you to swim and enjoy the summer while taking good care of your hearing health. Click here for more on hearing protection in Red Deer.