Swimmer’s ear, referred to as otitis externa, is a redness or swelling (inflammation), irritation, or infection of your outer ear canal. This is a painful condition that often happens to children, and to swimmers of all ages.
Many things may cause swimmer’s ear, but the most common cause is activity that traps water in your ear canal. This is the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to settle in and can eventually cause infection.
Symptoms of swimmer’s ear can include the following:
1. Ear pain: You may have an earache or notice ear pain if you pull or tug on your ear.
2. Itchiness inside of your ear.
3. Drainage from your ear.
4. Blocked ear. This feels like something is in your ear or a sense of fullness in your ear.
5. Redness and swelling in your outer ear.
6. Temporary hearing loss or decreased hearing.
How to treat swimmer’s ear
Visit your doctor they will often prescribe some ear drops to eliminate any infection, however if pain or inflammation persists after 10 days please return to your doctor. In more serious cases your doctor may recommend seeing an Audiologist to check for any hearing loss post infection.
Preventing swimmer’s ear
To reduce the risk of developing swimmer’s ear try to avoid the following:
– Getting water in your ears
– Swimming in dirty water
– Putting objects in your ear
If you swim frequently, wearing earplugs or a swimming cap can help to reduce the amount of water that enters your ears. It’s also important to dry your ears after swimming or bathing.