Swimming is a fun, healthy activity, but how can swimming regularly affect your ears?
What is swimmer’s ear?
It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming in a pool, open water or the sea, you will be susceptible to an infection known as otitis externa, which is more commonly known as swimmer’s ear.
Swimmer’s ear is caused by an irritation of the outer ear canal which is frequently caused by the ear being wet for a protracted period of time – long exposure to water causes irritation and that can often lead to infection, itching, scaling, secretions, inflammation, pain and even hearing loss.
The causes of otitis externa aren’t just confined to water; it can also be brought on by scratching the ear or getting foreign objects stuck within.
People who get swimmer’s ear must keep out of the water for at least a week to allow the infection to heal. This is particularly hard for competitive swimmers, divers, surfers and boaters etc as it means an enforced break in vital training.
So how do I prevent swimmer’s ear?
Preventing the condition is very straightforward – keep the ear dry. This is most effectively achieved by the use of custom-moulded Swimming Earplugs which keep the water out of the ear canal and prevent the irritation, at the same time as also blocking any water-borne infections there may be. You can also prevent damage to your ear by avoiding using in-ear headphones, and never using cotton buds, which not only block wax in the ear canal but also trap bacteria, making it more likely that you’ll suffer from infections.
Triathletes spend a lot of time in open water, and the subject is often brought up in forums that using earplugs whilst swimming, not only prevents infection, but also stops athletes from Feeling Dizzy after longer swims, especially if the water is very cold. This dizziness is caused by water getting into the ear canal. By keeping the water out of the ear, swimmers are not only preventing the feeling of dizziness, they are also preventing water-borne bacteria getting into their inner ear.
Need more information about custom-moulded swimming plugs or any aspect of ear care?