About all

How to deal with swimmers ear: The request could not be satisfied


What Are the Treatments for Swimmer’s Ear?

If you come back from a day at the water park with a case of swimmer’s ear, don’t plan on just trying to shake it off. See your doctor to get treatment that fights the infection and eases your pain.

At the Doctor’s Office

For swimmer’s ear treatments to work well, your doctor will first need to gently clean out any gunk that’s blocking your ear canal, like fluid, dead skin, and extra wax. She may use hydrogen peroxide, a suction device, or a special tool called an ear curette.

Your doctor will also want to check to make sure that your eardrum is healthy. If it’s torn (perforated), regular swimmer’s ear treatments may not work. You may need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist for treatment.


You’ll probably leave your doctor’s office with a prescription for eardrops to use at home. It’s the most common treatment. The eardrops fight the infection and help your ear heal.

Depending on your situation, these drops might have:

  • Antibiotics to kill bacteria
  • Steroids to help with swelling
  • Antifungal medicines, if your symptoms are caused by a fungus
  • Chemicals that restore a healthy balance to your ear canal, so it’s harder for germs to grow

Follow the bottle’s instructions for putting in the eardrops. Usually, you need to:

  • Tilt your head or lie on your side when you put the drops into your ear
  • Stay in that position for 3 to 5 minutes to let the drops soak in
  • Put a cotton ball into your ear, and leave it there for 20 minutes to keep the drops in
  • Repeat three to four times a day, or as your doctor recommends

You may find it easier to have somebody in your family put in the drops for you. They’ll probably have better aim. If the drops hurt because they’re cold, warm the bottle first by holding it in your hands.

What to Do at Home During Treatment

Once you start treatment, it will probably take about a week before your symptoms go away. In the meantime, you can take steps to feel better and help your treatment work.


Use painkillers if you need them. Over-the-counter acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help with pain. If they’re not enough, your doctor may give you a prescription painkiller.


Use the eardrops for as long as it says on the bottle. That’s usually 7 to 14 days. You may start feeling better after just a few days, but don’t stop early. If you do, the infection could come back.

Keep your ears dry. When you shower, gently put cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly into your ears to keep out water. And don’t swim until your doctor says it’s OK — probably for 7 to 10 days.

Don’t use headphones or a hearing aid. Wait until you feel better before you put anything into your ear.

Protect your ears from chemicals in cosmetics. For some people, hairsprays, hair dyes, and other products can irritate the skin and cause swimmer’s ear. Stop using anything that you think could be causing a problem — or at least put cotton balls into your ears first.

Call your doctor if you’re not feeling somewhat better in 36 to 48 hours. You may need a different approach to get rid of the infection.

Treatments for Severe Swimmer’s Ear

Most folks find they can get their swimmer’s ear under control with eardrops. But if the infection is more serious or has spread, you may need other types of treatment.

Ear wicks. If your ear canal is very swollen, it can block eardrops from getting far enough into your ear. If this happens, your doctor might put a wick into your ear. It’s just a piece of cotton that helps the drops get to where they need to go. Your doctor may need to replace the wick a few times.

Oral or IV antibiotics. If your infection is hard to treat or severe — or it has spread to nearby tissue, cartilage, or bone — you may need more powerful antibiotics. One serious infection is called malignant (necrotizing) external otitis, which is more common in older people with diabetes and immune problems like HIV.

Next Steps

Once you start treatment, you’ll probably start feeling better within a few days. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days — or if they get worse — call your doctor.


When you’re better, take steps so you won’t get it again. Wear earplugs when you’re swimming, and dry your ears carefully after they get wet. And don’t pick or scratch inside your ears, since that can cause swimmer’s ear.

Above all, follow the advice your mom might have told you: Never stick anything in your ear that’s smaller than your elbow.

Otitis externa: Get rid of swimmer’s ear

Many swimmers are familiar with earaches that sometimes accompany their water workouts. However, the term “swimmer’s ear” may be an inaccurate way to describe this condition.

Facts about swimmer’s ear

  • Otitis externa is the clinical term for swimmer’s ear.
  • Swimmer’s ear is found more often in people who aren’t swimmers.
  • Anyone who is outside in the wind and rain can get swimmer’s ear.
  • Farmers can experience the problem often being exposed to the elements for a long time.

Identifying swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is the inflammation of the canal joining the eardrum to the external ear. Moisture – water and different kinds of bacteria – get trapped in the ear canal. The ear canal gets red and sore and swells up from the irritation.

Pain is often the first sign of otitis externa. When someone feels their ear is plugged and painful, they may see their physician. Pain is usually experienced while chewing or by tugging on the earlobes.

Treatment and prevention

Swimmer’s ear is usually treated with antibiotics, either in the form of pills or ear drops.

A homemade cure can be mixed from a solution of half rubbing alcohol and half vinegar. The alcohol combines with water in the ear and then evaporates, removing the water, while the acidity of the vinegar keeps bacteria from growing. Apply a couple of drops of solution in each ear. This home remedy is recommended for those with repeat infections.

Those with repeat infections may also want to try blow-drying their ears to make sure all the moisture is out. The may also want to use the homemade remedy of alcohol and vinegar after daily showers.

The best way to avoid otitis externa is to keep ears clean and dry. If the problem is persistent, wearing properly fitting earplugs while in the water is also a possible treatment. Adults should make sure to watch out for swimmer’s ear in children, as they may not be able to recognize the symptoms.

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Daniel Fick, MD
Professor of Family Medicine

Dealing With Swimmer’s Ear

posted: Oct. 07, 2019.

While swimmer’s ear may sound akin to having a lucky rabbit’s foot, the opposite is actually true. This painful condition, also known as acute otitis externa, causes infection and inflammation of the outer ear. As you may be able to guess from the name alone, this ear infection is often the result of too much water getting into the ears, whether you are an avid swimmer or you just drenched yourself in a hot shower for too long. Of course, there are other reasons why you may be prone to these infections.

Sure, this infection tends to be more common in children and teens, but if you happen to clean your ears regularly with cotton swabs, if you end up damaging or cutting the skin of the ear canal or if you’ve been diagnosed with eczema of the ear canal, then you too could be at risk for developing this type of ear infection.

Once the water is trapped inside the ear canal, it leaves the ear susceptible to bacteria and infection. If you have swimmer’s ear, you most likely know it because the inflammation causes pain. Since it is indeed an infection, it’s important that you turn to your otolaryngologist for proper medical attention. Not only will the treatment help eliminate your pain and discomfort but it will also stop the infection from spreading.

Besides pain, you may also notice that your ear feels as if there’s fluid in it, which may also be drained. Since swimmer’s ear is an infection, you may also notice that the lymph nodes around the neck and ears are swollen. Some patients even report minor hearing loss. Of course, a young child can’t often describe their symptoms, but you may notice your little one tugging at their ear, unable to sleep, or more irritable and cranky. If you notice these symptoms then it’s time to take your child to the ENT doctor.

What can happen if swimmer’s ear isn’t treated properly? You may experience chronic or recurring infections. You may find that even if the condition clears up that your hearing loss has not fully returned. There may even be damage to the bones and cranial nerves.

When you come in to see your ENT specialist, they will most likely prescribe eardrops to treat the infection. They may also clean out the infected ear canal. These eardrops will serve to kill the bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to follow the instructions for your medication and continue to use it even once your symptoms have gone away, or according to what your physician has prescribed. This will ensure that all the bacteria are destroyed and that you won’t develop another infection.

Protect the health of your ears. If you think you may have swimmer’s ear, or if you are experiencing any kind of ear pain, it’s a good idea to play it safe and visit an ear, nose and throat specialist right away for care.

What to Do If Your Child Gets Swimmer’s Ear

Chances are if you’re a parent you’ve experienced the common childhood middle ear infection. This type of ear infection is caused by inflammation of the eardrum and is often associated with an upper respiratory infection.  

Less typical is swimmer’s ear (or otitis externa) which affects the skin lining of the outer ear canal, just outside the eardrum. What might surprise you though is that, despite fewer reported cases of swimmer’s ear, it still accounts for over 2.4 million healthcare visits in the U.S. annually.

In fact, ear infections like swimmer’s ear are one of the main conditions we see at GoHealth Urgent Care.

Does My Child Have Swimmer’s Ear?

If your child has otitis externa, you’ll probably know pretty quickly. Unlike a middle ear infection, one of the key indicators of swimmer’s ear is pain when chewing, pulling on the earlobe, or pressing on the “tag” on the front of the ear. It’s most common in children and adolescents ages 5-18. A high percentage of instances occur during the summer months, when kids spend a lot of time in the pool – hence the name swimmer’s ear!

Moisture from a waterlogged ear can be a culprit. However, it’s not the only reason for otitis externa. According to Dr. Christian Molstrom, Regional Lead Physician at Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care, “Anything that disrupts the ear canal’s wax-skin barrier can promote an infection.”

Under normal conditions, ear wax (or cerumen) provides a barrier to the ear canal’s skin lining because it seals out moisture and traps debris with its stickiness. But excessive water exposure can cause the skin to soften and become macerated, creating a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria or fungus.

Abrasions to the outer ear can also lead to bacterial or fungal infections. If your child uses cotton-tip swabs, ear plugs or headphones – or accidentally scratches his or her ear – it can result in a break in the skin lining.

Certain hair care products and jewelry can also be irritants. Plus, those that suffer from skin conditions like eczema and seborrhea are at higher risk for infection.

Besides an outer earache, other symptoms to be aware of with swimmer’s ear are redness and swelling of the ear canal as well as tender or enlarged lymph nodes in this area.

Sometimes a cloudy, yellowish discharge can fill up in the outer ear. Should swelling or pus block the auditory canal, your child might also temporarily lose hearing.

What Home Remedies Provide Pain Relief from Swimmer’s Ear?

Most of the time swimmer’s ear is not an emergency situation. But that doesn’t mean it’s not painful. Even mild otitis externa can cause discomfort.

So what helps with swimmer’s ear? As long as your child doesn’t have a perforated eardrum or ear tube, you can use non-prescription ear drops to make them feel better.

Non-prescription ear drops can be purchased at the drugstore, or you can create your own ear drops at home. These are made with a half and half mixture of alcohol and vinegar, and are intended to restore the normal acid balance to the ear while evaporating excess water.

Other swimmer’s ear remedies can also be used to alleviate pain. Like ear drops, a heating pad can be applied to your child’s infected ear to dry it out. To avoid accidental burning, it’s best to keep the heating pad on its lowest setting and only use it in short durations.

If these remedies don’t provide the desired relief, you can also try an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

No matter how itchy or irritating the infection becomes, encourage your child to keep their fingers away from the ear. Removing any visible discharge or debris can lead to further trauma.

Plus, while your child might want to get right back into the water, they should avoid swimming until symptoms subside since continued swimming can slow recovery.

When Should We Visit Urgent Care?

A more severe swimmer’s ear infection that doesn’t improve with at-home treatment may require a visit to the doctor.

“It’s easy for a GoHealth Urgent Care provider to diagnose otitis externa by taking a brief history and performing a limited physical exam that involves looking inside your child’s ear to determine if the infection is internal or external to the eardrum,” Dr. Molstrom explains.

Depending on what is found, the doctor may recommend a prescription for an antibiotic ear drop. The insertion of an ear wick may be needed for more severe cases of otitis externa where the canal demonstrates significant swelling, to allow adequate penetration of antibiotic drops.  If your child suffers from reoccurring infections, their doctor might also refer you to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) for further examination.

If you think your child might have swimmer’s ear, we’re here to help. Find a GoHealth Urgent Care center near you by using the widget below.

How Do I Prevent Swimmer’s Ear?

Knowing how painful swimmer’s ear can be, parents often ask how they can prevent an earache caused by water in the first place.

While your child may enjoy spending hours in the pool, there are some precautions you can take to ensure they’re safe this summer – whether in our out of the water:

  • Keep your child’s ears as water-free as possible when swimming. Custom-fitted swim caps and ear plugs can help to protect the ear canal. However, excessive use should be avoided as this can actually lead to swimmer’s ear.
  • Check pool pH levels and make sure water is properly disinfected.
  • Avoid swimming in lakes or rivers that have high levels of bacteria.
  • Dry your child’s ears completely after swimming.

Here are some safe methods on how to remove water from the ear:

  • Let gravity do the work. Outside of using a towel to dry your child’s ears, the most practical way to remove water is through tilting the head to hold each ear facing down. Pulling the earlobe in different directions while the ear is face down can help drain water.
  • Create suction with your hands. Have your child cup their palm tightly over the ear and tilt their head to the side, mimicking a vacuum. This can help to loosen up the water so it can be pulled out.
  • Apply a warm compress. Try using a warm washcloth as a compress over your child’s ear to extract water and help soothe discomfort.
  • Use a hair dryer. To help evaporate any trapped water, place a hair dryer on its lowest setting and hold it about a foot from your child’s ear. Move it back and forth slowly to distribute the force of air. You can also simultaneously tug on the earlobe to help release water.
  • Make an ear drop mixture. Similar to vinegar and rubbing alcohol ear drops, a mixture of half water and half hydrogen peroxide can also be used to help soften ear wax and drain any trapped water.

In addition, your child should avoid using cotton-tip swabs to remove water or earwax from their ear. Swabs and other items like bobby pins or fingernails cause a break in the skin lining. They can also push wax further back into the ear canal where it doesn’t belong, and this might require your child needing medical help to get it out.

Accidentally pushing swabs too far can also damage the ear drum or the tiny hearing bones (hammer, anvil and stirrup) underneath.

Complications with Chronic Swimmer’s Ear

With proper treatment, instances of acute (not chronic) otitis externa usually clear up in 7-10 days. However, if the outer ear infection isn’t easily resolved or reoccurs in multiple sequential episodes, it can lead to chronic otitis externa.

An acute case of swimmer’s ear can become chronic if the bacteria or fungus that’s causing infection is a rare strain, the infection is both bacterial and fungal, or your child has an allergic reaction to an antibiotic prescribed. 

Symptoms of chronic swimmer’s ear include a fever and pain that radiates to the face, neck and head. If untreated, it can lead to conditions such as hearing loss or cellulitis.

Treatment for chronic otitis externa with antibiotic ear drops or oral antibiotics is usually successful. But depending on the severity of the infection, it may take some time and require repeat treatment. 

Other Ear Conditions That May Cause Ear Pain

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Eustachian tube dysfunction usually occurs during or after a deep water dive. It is a result of barometric change, so divers are particularly affected. It can also occur from a reaction to the chlorine in a swimming pool, which may cause the lining of the nose to become irritated, thinning the tubes over time. The pressure pushing bacteria and mucous into the ear has also been known to cause this dysfunction.

Nose and ear plugs may help to prevent this from happening though. During a dive, you can also slowly breathe out air from your mouth until you reach the surface.

Medical treatments for Eustachian tube dysfunction include nasal decongestants and anti-bacterial ear drops, which can be prescribed to you if diagnosed.

Malignant External Otitis

While rare to occur, malignant external otitis develops when bacteria infect the bones inside the ear canal and spread to the base of the skull. Symptoms include ear pain with sudden facial paralysis, hoarseness, hearing loss, and throat pain.

Older adults with diabetes, anyone with HIV, and children who have impaired immune systems are at the highest risk for malignant external otitis.

Antibiotics are used to treat this infection.

To Summarize

As your family turns to the pool to find relief from hot summer days, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid the discomfort of swimmer’s ear. Individuals are more susceptible to otitis externa when they spend large amounts of time swimming, especially in water with high levels of bacteria.

Children in particular are more vulnerable to infection since they have narrower ear canals. You can help prevent swimmer’s ear by ensuring your child’s ears stay dry. It will be a long summer if they have to sit poolside while all their friends are enjoying the water.

Please feel free to visit any of our GoHealth Urgent Care centers for any ear pain or concerns that do not resolve after 2-3 days of conservative management. One of our skilled providers would be happy to assess your concerns and get you back on the path to feeling better.

GoHealth Urgent Care partners with these regional healthcare providers:



%PDF-1.4 %
149 0 obj > endobj
149 88
0000000016 00000 n
0000002651 00000 n
0000002795 00000 n
0000003411 00000 n
0000003518 00000 n
0000003672 00000 n
0000003825 00000 n
0000003979 00000 n
0000004133 00000 n
0000004287 00000 n
0000004441 00000 n
0000004595 00000 n
0000004747 00000 n
0000004900 00000 n
0000005052 00000 n
0000005204 00000 n
0000005719 00000 n
0000005768 00000 n
0000008251 00000 n
0000010879 00000 n
0000013394 00000 n
0000015990 00000 n
0000016376 00000 n
0000018962 00000 n
0000019102 00000 n
0000019693 00000 n
0000022051 00000 n
0000023754 00000 n
0000025588 00000 n
0000025706 00000 n
0000025824 00000 n
0000025932 00000 n
0000026040 00000 n
0000026148 00000 n
0000026276 00000 n
0000026404 00000 n
0000026532 00000 n
0000026672 00000 n
0000026812 00000 n
0000026952 00000 n
0000027199 00000 n
0000027313 00000 n
0000027437 00000 n
0000027549 00000 n
0000027584 00000 n
0000027662 00000 n
0000030043 00000 n
0000030375 00000 n
0000030441 00000 n
0000030557 00000 n
0000030627 00000 n
0000030708 00000 n
0000031267 00000 n
0000031548 00000 n
0000031698 00000 n
0000031725 00000 n
0000032026 00000 n
0000036206 00000 n
0000036645 00000 n
0000037176 00000 n
0000041319 00000 n
0000041795 00000 n
0000042317 00000 n
0000057330 00000 n
0000057678 00000 n
0000057953 00000 n
0000058542 00000 n
0000058620 00000 n
0000058655 00000 n
0000058733 00000 n
0000356382 00000 n
0000356711 00000 n
0000356777 00000 n
0000356893 00000 n
0000356971 00000 n
0000357084 00000 n
0000357357 00000 n
0000357640 00000 n
0000357718 00000 n
0000358074 00000 n
0000358111 00000 n
0000362970 00000 n
0000635467 00000 n
0000635908 00000 n
0000637691 00000 n
0000649897 00000 n
0000002474 00000 n
0000002096 00000 n
]/Prev 725774/XRefStm 2474>>

236 0 obj >stream
hTKBq?{|C1JIC [email protected]\A 76>l+h|?Wm^.ù>z~GD$]FOP#I BL’=_o_5g&*UMɸ#AeVW:IWc,+k7T{83Gb V)?XU’ q”|;[email protected]؝ǬN]?eow[2nUﭮ>~

Natural Treatments for Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmers’ ear, also known as acute otitis externa, is a common infection of the ear canal that occurs when water gets trapped in the ear. It causes inflammation, swelling, itching, and drainage of fluid from the ears and can be quite painful.

Although swimmer’s ear usually is best managed with prescription ear drops. there are some natural remedies and prevention measures that may be worth trying with a doctor’s supervision.

Comstock Images / Stockbyte / Getty Images

Garlic Oil Drops

Garlic has natural antibacterial properties and can be used to treat swimmer’s ear in the form of garlic oil. Garlic ear oil can be purchased at a health food or natural remedy store, but also is easy to make by grating several fresh cloves of garlic into a jar with extra virgin olive oil. Let this mixture sit overnight and then strain out the garlic pieces.

To treat swimmer’s ear, use a dropper to place three to five drops of oil into the affected ear. Plug the ear with a clean cotton ball and lie down with your head to the side so the drops stay in place for 10 to 15 minutes. Let the oil drain out of the ear when you get up. Repeat once or twice per day until symptoms are relieved.

If left at room temperature homemade garlic oil has the potential to grow the bacteria that causes botulism. Store in the freezer for up to several months or in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has antiseptic properties that may help kill bacteria in the ear. Because it also can destroy healthy bacteria, it’s advisable to dilute it by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with one part water.

To use, dip a cotton swab into the solution and gently clean the ear canal. Do not penetrate the ear. Alternatively, use a dropper to place two to three drops directly into the ear. After a maximum of 30 seconds, tilt your head to the side to help the solution run back out of your ear.

Heat Therapy

Heat can help soothe pain and inflammation caused by swimmer’s ear. Gently hold a hot water bottle wrapped in cloth, a heating pad, therapeutic heating wrap, or a warm damp washcloth against the infected ear for five to ten minutes. Take care not to burn your ear. Apply heat a few times a day until the infection has cleared.

Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol

Together these ingredients may prohibit the growth of bacteria in the outer ear and thereby reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear. To use, mix one part white vinegar with one part rubbing alcohol. Before and after swimming, pour one teaspoon of this solution into each ear and then allow it to drain back out. Do not use if the eardrum is punctured.

When to See a Doctor

If you’ve never had swimmer’s ear, or your symptoms are severe or persistent, see a doctor rather than attempt self-treatment. They can clean out the infected ear and prescribe antibacterial ear drops.

How to Steer Clear of Swimmer’s Ear – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

You may be surprised to learn that the shape of your ears can make you more or less likely to get swimmer’s ear, a painful outer ear infection. While there’s not much you can do about the particular curves of your ears, experts say there are ways to help prevent swimmer’s ear.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

The infection, which doctors call otitis externa, most commonly occurs when water lingers in your ear canal. Despite the name, you don’t have to swim regularly to get swimmer’s ear. But the condition is more common when people are in water often.

Head and neck specialist Richard Freeman, MD, says the most important way to prevent swimmer’s ear is to keep your ears clean and dry.

Here are his do’s and don’ts:

  • Do use hydrogen peroxide. Clean your ears occasionally with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to remove ear wax that can trap water in your ear. Use about half of an ear dropper full. Let it bubble and fizz, and then turn your head to the side and pull back on the top of your ear to allow it to drain properly. Make sure you use drying drops or your hair dryer to dry the ear canal so that no moisture is left behind.
  • Don’t use cotton swabs or tissues to clean or dry your ears. They can scratch the skin in your ear canal and make conditions worse.
  • Do use a hair dryer. You can use a hair dryer to gently and indirectly dry out your ear canal if it gets wet.
  • Do wear ear plugs or bathing caps. These can help keep water out of your ears. However, they can also trap water in your ears, so be sure to dry your ears well after swimming.

Why water and dampness can cause swimmer’s ear

What is it about water that causes swimmer’s ear? 

Bacteria that normally inhabit the skin and ear canal begin to multiply in those warm, wet conditions and cause irritation, infection or inflammation. Occasionally, a fungal infection causes the same result.

“The ear canal is dark and warm, so if it gets wet, you have all the ingredients for a Petri dish to grow bacteria,” says Dr. Freeman.

Why summertime leaves you at risk

The infection is more common in warm weather when you’re more likely to hit the pool, water park or beach. Swimming in public waters that are heavily polluted or lounging in hot tubs that aren’t properly disinfected can put you at greater risk of contact with excessive bacteria.

But summertime conditions can take their toll even if you’re not a swimmer.

“Many of the people I see with the otitis externa infection have not been swimming,” Dr. Freeman says. A landlubber’s ear can become infected because the bacteria is more likely to get damp due to summer heat and humidity levels and perspiration, he says.

Allergies or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or seborrhea can make your ear infection worse. Also, diabetics are more prone to swimmer’s ear infections.

People can even develop swimmer’s ear from bathing or showering.

Best treatment for swimmer’s ear

Typically, you can identify a swimmer’s ear infection by redness and swelling of the ear canal and outer ear (the part that you can see around the opening), itching, pain, pus drainage and sometimes hearing loss.

You can sometimes reduce inflammation by cleaning and drying the ear canal. In most cases, this requires applying antibiotic or anti-fungal ear drops. The drops need to reach your skin in order to work, so cleaning your ear with hydrogen peroxide, for example, is important. 

However, Dr. Freeman says it’s never a good idea to put water into your ears.

He says you can start with over-the-counter drying agents. However, he says a trip to your doctor is best so that they can:

  • Clean your ear safely.
  • Recommend the correct ear drops.
  • Show you how to use the drops properly.

If it doesn’t resolve, Dr. Freeman advises that you don’t let the condition go. 

“If left untreated, swimmer’s ear can get worse and harder to treat,” he says. “Occasionally, you might need prescription oral antibiotics and, in extreme conditions, may need to be admitted to the hospital.”​

“Swimmer’s ear” – causes, diagnosis and treatment

What is swimmer’s ear?

This is a classic case of swimmer’s ear, which is a manifestation of otitis externa.

All that is required for a long-lasting infection called swimmer’s ear is a pair of ears and dry moisture. Water constantly gets into the ears during swimming, showering, washing with shampoo. When people try to dry them with cotton swabs, the top layer of the skin is peeled off along with the protective bacteria.Then harmful bacteria are defeated and inflammation begins.

Swimmer’s ear begins with itching. If left untreated, the infection will worsen and pain will develop, which can become excruciating. This will require medical attention and antibiotics to suppress it.

How to protect yourself from ear pain after bathing?

With simple measures, you can prevent the development or worsening of ear pain after bathing or swimming:

Dry your ears

Remove moisture from your ears every time it gets there, whether or not you have otitis media.Pull the concha up and outward to align the ear canal, and blow air from the hair dryer into the ear from a distance of 45-50 cm. Set the control to the “cold” or “warm” level and let the hair dryer blow for 30 seconds. This will dry your ear by removing moisture that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Put on a hat and cover your ears

Telling an avid swimmer not to be in the water is like telling someone not to breathe. The perfect combination is a pair of earplugs and a cap that holds them in place.Most pharmacies have paraffin or silicone plugs. You can make your own reliable earplug. Spread the Vaseline on a cotton ball, and carefully tuck it like a cork directly into your ear, but shallowly. It will absorb any moisture, keeping your ear warm and dry. Keeping ears dry is especially important for people prone to ear infections. Remember to plug your ears when shampooing your hair or taking a shower.

Swim on the surface

Even if you currently have otitis externa (swimmer’s ear), you can continue to swim.Swim on the surface of the water with less water entering your ear than when diving.

Leave earwax alone

Earwax serves several purposes, including nourishing beneficial bacteria and protecting the ear canal from moisture. You don’t need to delete it.

Soothe pain with warmth

A warm towel straight from the dryer, a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth, and a heating pad in “warm” mode will also help soothe pain.

Use ear drops

Most pharmacies have ear drops that kill bacteria.If itchy ear is the only symptom, one of these medications should eliminate the threat of infection. Use them every time water gets into your ears.

Use pain relievers as a temporary measure

If you have ear pain, which indicates an infection, a remedy such as aspirin can help you manage the pain before you see a doctor.

Choose a place to swim

A closely watched pool is less likely to pick up bacteria than a pond.Don’t swim in dirty water.

If you wear a hearing aid

You can get otitis externa without even getting close to the water. The hearing aid has the effect of blocking the ear. When worn, moisture increases, which promotes the growth of harmful bacteria. Decision? Remove your hearing aid as often as possible to allow your ear to dry out.

90,000 Swimming and your ears: what you need to know?

Swimming is an integral part of relaxation and an active lifestyle, regardless of your age and whether you are swimming in a pool, lake, river or ocean.But can your favorite pastime lead to hearing damage and hearing loss?

Influence of swimming on your ears

Swimming can put your hearing organ at significant risk as it can lead to otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear. The cause of this disease is the effect of bacteria present in natural water bodies. Such bacteria can also be found in pool and hot tub water if the water is not properly sanitized or chlorinated.When contaminated water enters the ear, bacteria can begin to multiply, leading to infection. These infections can damage the fragile hair cells in the inner ear that transmit sound, resulting in hearing loss.

Protection of the hearing organ from water

You can minimize the risk of ear infections after swimming by making sure your pool or hot tub is properly sanitized and chlorinated before using it.If you prefer to swim in natural waters, avoid stagnant areas where bacterial contamination is most likely. Also, find out if this or that body of water may pose a safety risk.

You can provide additional hearing protection by using earplugs while swimming to prevent water from entering your ears. Disposable waterproof earplugs can be found at any drug store or sports store, but if you swim regularly, you can opt for custom-made reusable hearing protection.

If after swimming you feel like water has entered your ear, you can take the following measures to remove it:

  • Dry the auricle with a soft towel, without inserting it into the external auditory canal.
  • Tilt your head to one side and gently pull on the earlobe to drain the water.
  • Chewing or yawning will open the Eustachian tube and drain water from the ears.
  • Steam exposure also contributes to the opening of the Eustachian tube.Lean over a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes.

If the above methods do not help, see a doctor who will remove water from the ear and prescribe treatment if necessary. If you have a hearing impairment, your hearing care professional can help determine the cause and, if necessary, match the correct hearing aids.

Do not be afraid of water

Swimming can be safe if you take proper precautions.Learning more about the water you swim in, wearing appropriate hearing protection, and knowing what to do if water gets into your ear can help you avoid the risk of developing an infection that can lead to hearing loss.

90,000 Swimmers ears. How to protect your ears while swimming? Ears hurt after swimming? :: ACMD

Swimming is one of the most popular and useful sports not only for adults, but also for children.Swimming culture is instilled from a very early age. Seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, pools. Summer and winter. Everything is fine, if not for the small dangers that can spoil your impression of this sport and recreation. Today we will talk about one “underwater” stone on the part of diseases of the ear, throat, nose.

These are “swimmers’ ears”

Inflammatory disease of the external auditory canal, which most often develops after swimming in water (ponds, pools) due to hypothermia or penetration of a bacterial infection.The normal condition of the ear (the skin of the ear canal) is impaired due to frequent exposure to a humid environment. We still provoke this by improper care of the ear canal. Intensive use of sanitary sticks leads to the removal of the protective sulfur, the top layer of the skin along with the protective bacteria is removed, the skin is irritated, and wounds are formed.

The danger is not so much cold water as the microbes contained in this water, since the main cause of the development of inflammation is a pathogenic bacterium.If you dry the ear, remove all moisture, then microorganisms will not harm. If you do not dry your ears properly, stagnant water reduces the acidity of the skin and its protective function, irritates the ear canal and creates favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria and fungi.

So, what to do so that the disease does not arise:

  1. Protect your ears from water – special caps or the use of earplugs. A combination is ideal. We choose earplugs that are waterproof and comfortable for you individually.You can make a cotton ball, soak it in oil (vaseline) and use it as earplugs.
  2. If water gets into the ear – remove the water !!! Never dry your ears with a hairdryer! Hot air, strong vibrations and the noise from a hair dryer can damage your hearing system. Try to “shake out” the water from the ear canal, while aligning it. Pull the auricle back and tilt your head slightly upward. Jump on one leg. Press with your palm on your ear. If there are no sulfur plugs in the ear canal, the water will come out without problems.
  3. Avoid swimming in muddy bodies of water. In supervised pools, it is less likely to get sick.
  4. After showering, bathing or shampooing, immediately gently wipe only the outside of your ears with the corner of a soft towel or small balls of cotton wool.
  5. Do not wear earplugs, earphones, or earphones for long periods of time. These items trap moisture in the ear canal, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms to grow.
  6. If you wear a hearing aid, remove it as often as possible to allow your ear to dry out.
  7. Do not use hygiene sticks to remove wax from the ear canal. Remember that sulfuric discharge is the protection of the skin. She must be!!! The use of sticks leads to skin trauma, the formation of wounds and inflammatory diseases of the ear canal.

If your ears still start to hurt, especially when you touch them and the pain intensifies with the movement of the jaw, hearing has decreased, discharge from the ear has appeared – do not self-medicate . Contact your ENT doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.An untimely and adequately treated inflammatory process can turn into a chronic form and every ingress of water or an adverse factor can provoke a return of inflammation.

“Swimmer’s Ear” Neanderthals could get without water – Science

Having studied dozens of skulls of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons from Eurasia, researchers found that Neanderthals often had abnormal bone growths that appear with otitis externa. Modern doctors call them “swimmer’s ear” or “surfer’s ear”, because such growths are typical for people who regularly swim in cold water.Nevertheless, a number of signs indicate that in the case of ancient people, there might not have been a connection with cold water.

In recent decades, a lot of evidence has begun to emerge about the life of ancient people. In particular, scientists have found that the Neanderthals could swim to the Mediterranean islands (Crete and Naxos) – apparently with the help of some kind of primitive swimming means. At one of the Iberian sites, signs were also found that they were hunting marine mammals. It is quite difficult to do this from the shore.

The authors of the new work tried to clarify how often ancient people came into contact with the aquatic environment. The researchers analyzed 23 Neanderthal skulls and 54 Cro-Magnon skulls looking for abnormal growths on the temporal bone near the beginning of the ear canal – ear exostosis. As a rule, exostosis occurs in people who often suffer from otitis externa. Nowadays, this condition is most common in those people who often swim in cold water, which is why exostosis is also known as “swimmer’s ear” or “surfer’s ear”.

Samples of ear exostosis (“swimmer’s ear”) found in Cro-Magnons. E. Trinkaus & M. Samsel.

It turned out that out of 23 Neanderthal skulls, 13 had exostosis, that is, in 56% of cases. In Cro-Magnon remains, this sign was found no more often than 25% for those who lived earlier than 35 thousand years ago, and no more than 9% for those who lived after this date. At first glance, it seems that Neanderthals swam in cold water more often than Cro-Magnons.

Specimens of aural exostosis found on Neanderthal skulls.E. Trinkaus & H. Rougier.

However, the authors point out that in fact this interpretation is not entirely justified. First, it has long been proven that otitis externa appears more often than usual in coastal areas, even at the equator. That is, for the emergence of the “swimmer’s ear” it does not matter whether a person bathes in cold water or in warm water. Secondly, according to modern data, for the appearance of otitis media, it is enough just to often be in the cold and wet wind. In theory, the ice ages, during which most of the Neanderthals studied in the work lived, are characterized by very strong and often cold winds.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to unambiguously assume that the “swimmer’s ear” was caused only by cold sea winds. A significant part of the finds were made in places far from the sea. A dry cold wind is less likely to provoke otitis media: in modern people living north of 45 degrees north latitude, it is less common than in those who live to the south. Another problem is that the continental regions of Eurasia at that time, due to the colder climate, were dry and there were not so many rivers and lakes.

See also: Sanctuary of the Goblins. Most likely, “Homo sapiens”, having landed in Europe, did not give the Neanderthals life in the literal sense of the word

Researchers conclude that Neanderthals may have had some other factor that influenced the appearance of aural exostosis. It could be regular contamination of the ear canals or a genetic predisposition to otitis externa. Perhaps we are talking about frequent bathing in cold water, but in this case, scientists say, you need to look for some archaeological evidence of this.

It should be noted that there are a number of limitations in the work. First, the sample of 23 Neanderthal skulls with well-preserved temporal bones is very small, and it is problematic to draw broad conclusions on its basis. Secondly, the authors do not refer to ethnographic data on peoples who lived on water resources in a cold climate. Many of them (for example, the Eskimos and Aleuts) rarely came into contact with cold water, since where they live it is both unpleasant and unsafe for humans.At the same time, it is doubtful that the Neanderthals would swim in cold water for the sake of fishing, because none of the peoples known to scientists did this, using instead of a top, stocks and other means that allowed them not to go deep into the water.

90,000 Dr. Komarovsky: “Inflammation of the outer ear after bathing, what should I do?”

The medical name for this disease is swimmer’s ear. How to treat it, told the famous doctor and TV presenter Yevgeny Komarovsky.

We are talking specifically about inflammation of the external ear – from the beginning of the ear canal to the eardrum.

Itching, redness, soreness – these are the signs of otitis media of the external ear. Why does the disease occur?

A healthy ear protects itself from bacteria and fungi with the secreted sulfur, which has many properties, explains Komarovsky. Several factors break this protection while swimming in ponds – moisture, heat, sweat, mechanical damage (even ear sticks injure the walls of the ear canal), as well as headphones.

Thus, bacteria and fungi penetrate (viruses are practically not present).

Usually used drops for the ear, which contain an antibiotic, or antifungal, antibacterial agent.

Treatment should be prescribed by a doctor, because he can distinguish between fungal and bacterial inflammation. Accordingly, the drops will be different.

In order not to get sick, it is worth understanding simple things. Sulfur is a protective agent and can only be removed from the visible part of the ear! Don’t use sticks.With a wand, you push the sulfur into the depths, the doctor warns.

Sulfur is a physiological cleaning system, it moves, removing dust and bacteria. If you are wearing headphones all the time, then this movement is disrupted. When choosing reservoirs, you should also be interested in water quality.

Another factor in the formation of otitis media: if water remains in the ear, this increases the risk of disease. You can dry your ear with a handkerchief or just jump on one leg.

In no case should cotton be inserted, it remains inside in the form of microfibers.

By the way, in pharmacies there are special drops for draining the ear canal. Alcohol and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio can also replace such drops.Another way is a warm hair dryer.

How to swim and not earn “swimmer’s ear” – Rambler / Doctor

“Swimmer’s ear”, as it is also called otitis externa, often occurs when dirty water gets into the ear canal while swimming or showering. This concept is often used in the professional environment of athletes, calling it the ear, the normal state of which is impaired due to constant contact with moisture.Teleprogramma.pro is figuring out how to avoid the problem and deal with it if the trouble did occur. Otitis media and swimmer’s ear: what is it?

more on the topic

From the life of waterfowl: how not to get sick after visiting the pool About what precautions should be taken in the pool, what medications to put in a sports first-aid kit, and which of the horror stories about diseases that can be picked up in the pool, however, Teleprogramma.pro understood which ones. By nature, our ears are well protected from water and bacteria that may be in it: this is facilitated by the structure of the auricle and the acidic pH of earwax, which is detrimental to most bacteria and fungi.But since water often gets into the ears of swimmers and divers, the earwax is washed out, losing its protective properties, and the inner shell of the ear canal becomes loose, turning into a good target for harmful microorganisms.

Children are especially often earning money for the “swimmer’s ear”. Why does someone even daily exercises in the pool do not cause such problems, while others are constantly suffering from otitis media, depends on many things: the purity of the water (in open reservoirs, the risk of infection is much higher than in the pool), the individual features of the structure of the auricle, finally, from immunity.

How to swim and not earn a swimmer’s ear. Source: pixabay.com The first symptoms of otitis media If itching appears in the ear, you should be alert, this may indicate that an infection has entered the ear canal. Moreover, in some cases, itching may appear only a few days after contact with water.

If the ear begins to swell or redden from the inside – this may also indicate the beginning of an infectious process.

Any discomfort should be alerted. For example, some recognize the onset of otitis media by the painful sensation of pressure on the tragus.

Transparent or yellowish discharge from the ear canal may indicate that the process of reproduction of microbes has already gone far enough. And if the ear starts to “shoot” – run to the doctor! How do swimmers protect their ears?

more on the topic

Is it possible to swim in the pond? Six signs that it is dangerous Swimming in a city pond or a summer cottage lake can be a reason for a visit to the doctor and end up with a long treatment. only warm, since too hot air also destroys the protective barrier) and carefully wipe the inside of the auricle.It is better to use not cotton swabs, which can easily damage the eardrum, but a thin cloth, pushing its soft corner into the ear canal and, as it were, blotting out moisture.

After swimming, some people instill special prophylactic drops in their ears, usually they are made on the basis of medical alcohol. A sports doctor can recommend suitable ones.

Professional swimmers use ear plugs to protect their ears from water. They come in different configurations, adults and children.How to treat the “swimmer’s ear” If the inflammatory process has already begun, any thermal procedures will only worsen the situation, so no self-activity, no warming compresses.

For the treatment of otitis media and various infections of the ear canal, special drops are usually used. But the doctor should recommend them after examination with the help of an otoscope. If necessary, to determine the cause of the problem, a swab is taken from the ear: depending on the location of the otitis media, as well as on what caused the infection, it can be treated with antibiotics, antimicrobial or antifungal drugs.

Child’s ear pain – what to do? [Causes and treatment]

What you need to know about child’s ear pain:

  • Ear pain may mean that the child has ear inflammation – otitis media. The only way to be sure if this is so or not is to have an otolaryngologist examine the eardrum with an otoscope or ENT endoscope.
  • Earache is not life threatening: it is safe to wait for the doctor to come to your home or the child is taken to the doctor.
  • Ear pain can usually be reduced by taking a nonspecific anti-inflammatory drug.
  • Most of the infections that cause ear pain in children are viral and do not need antibiotic treatment.

Why can children have ear pain?

  1. Ear infections. Infection of the middle ear (space behind the eardrum) is the most common cause. Ear infections can be caused by viruses or bacteria.
  2. Swimmer’s ear. This is an infection or irritation of the skin covering the ear canal from water entering the ear. The main symptom is itching of the ear canal. If an infection joins the irritation, then there is pain in the ear.
  3. Trauma to the ear canal. Using hard objects or nails to clean the ears may result in scratches that can become inflamed and painful.
  4. Abscess of the ear canal. Infection of the hair follicle in the ear canal can be very painful.
  5. Sulfur plug . A large chunk of hard earwax can cause mild ear pain. If wax has been pressed in with cotton swabs while cleaning the ears, blockage of the ear canal can occur and inflammation with pain may occur, in which additionally there may be a decrease in hearing in this ear.
  6. Foreign object. Babies may push small objects (foreign bodies) into their ears, which can cause pain. Most often these are small pebbles, beads, beads, seeds from berries, small Lego parts or plastic Kinder surprise toys, etc.n. Observe the instructions on the packaging of the toys. Do not allow a small child to play with small objects, especially without adult supervision.
  7. Barotrauma. Painful stretching of the eardrum can occur if the ear canal is blocked by a waxy plug, a pressure drop (such as in an airplane, car ride in the mountains, or in a skyscraper elevator). Children are more sensitive. The child will perceive that baro-load that an adult will not even notice as pain.
  8. Radiating (reflected) pain. Ear pain can also be caused by problems in the tonsils, parotid gland, or jaws. Toothache can often be disguised as ear pain, in babies – especially during teething. Also, ear pain can occur with inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, with mumps (mumps), or with very painful inflammation of the mandibular lymph nodes. A particular pain in the ear is with inflammation of the mastoid process of the temporal bone. Irradiating pain is easy to identify when pressing on the inflamed organ, it will intensify.

Still have questions?

Get an online consultation from the leading pediatricians of St. Petersburg!

A professional and experienced pediatrician will answer your questions.

Medical assistance for a child without leaving home at a convenient time.

Skype consultation lasts 45 minutes.

What to do in case of pain in the child’s ear before the doctor’s appointment?

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Nurofen) may be given to your child to help reduce pain.
  • You can apply a warm (not hot) soft cloth dressing to the auricle for 20 minutes. The gentle heat relieves pain until the pain medication starts working.
  • IMPORTANT: you cannot put compresses or heating bandages on your own without a doctor’s prescription, you can INCREASE or generalize purulent inflammation!

Ear pain from ear infection

If pus is leaking from the ear (possibly mixed with blood), then a small hole (perforation) is likely to appear in the eardrum.