Swimmer's Ear: How to prevent it and how to treat it – EarplugStation.com
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Swimmer's Ear: How to prevent it and how to treat it

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What is Swimmer's ear

Swimmer's ear is the term used for an infection of the outer ear canal that often starts in the eardrum and continues to the outside of the ear. The water that remains in the ear canal creates a moist environment that encourages bacterial growth. While most common in swimmers and surfers in regions with cooler waters, any conditions that promote the growth of bacteria in the inner ear may lead to some form of swimmer's ear.

Causes of Swimmer's Ear

Swimmer's ear is caused when bacteria makes it into the inner canal. Swimmer's ear is most common in cooler waters, but excessive water in the ears from a bath or hot tub can also cause the condition to develop. Common causes of swimmer's ear include:

• Heavy perspiration (including wearing hearing aides)
• Excess moisture left in the inner ear
• Prolonged exposure to humidity or other conditions that promote bacteria growth
• Scratches or abrasions in the ear canal
• Small breaks in the skin from wearing headphones or hearing aids that can create an area of bacteria to grow
• Cleaning your ear with a cotton swab or other instrument that pushes water and bacteria further inside of the ear canal
• Skin allergies that promote infection
• An unusually narrow ear canal


Treatments for Swimmer's Ear

Eardrops and Eardryers are often used to treat mild cases of swimmer's ear. Prompt treatment at the first sign of swimmer's ear can prevent more serious complications from developing. It is easy to dismiss some of the initial symptoms as a minor ear infection or just a reaction to cold water. It is important to catch swimmer's ear as early as possible to prevent the infection from spreading. Early signs of swimmer's ear include:

• Mild discomfort within or around the ear that doesn't get better after a day or two
• Itching or redness in or around the ear
• Clear drainage of an odorless fluid

If left untreated, swimmer's ear often demonstrates more serious symptoms ranging from more intense itching to partial blockage of the ear canal from swelling due to fluid build-up that could lead to hearing loss. Advanced progression of swimmer's ear may produce severe pain in the neck or the side of the head. Swelling in the lymph nodes and fever may also result from a severe infection. It is best to see a doctor as soon as symptoms are noticed.


Preventing Swimmer's Ear

The best way to prevent swimmer's ear is to protect the inner ear by wearing earplugs before going into the water and taking care to dry your ears well after exposure to water. This can include using daily drying of ears when wearing a hearing aid. Fortunately, earplugs come in a wide range of styles and colors with an earplug design to suit everyone there are also nifty earplugs and eardrops that dry your ears and an eardryer that gently dries ears. Some ways to prevent swimmer's ear include:

  • Tilting your head and gently shake your head after swimming or other water activities
  • Wearing earplugs before getting into cooler water, swimming or engaging in water sports
  • Use Clear Ears drying earplugs to absorb water after exposure to water
  • Using Clear n Dry eardrops to help promote drying after exposure to water
  • Use the Ear Dryer from Macks to gently dry ears after exposure to water of build up of sweat

It's not uncommon for some experienced swimmer's to live with an inner ear infection with no noticeable hearing issues or signs of infection. Swimmer's ear often returns with repeated exposure to the same elements that caused the infection in the first place; often in the same ear. The best way to prevent or minimize swimmer's ear is to take reasonable precautions and seek medical attention at the first sign of infection. Children and the elderly can be more prone to ear infections resulting from Swimmer's ear and benefit from the easy to use Eardryer.

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