As holiday season approaches and people prepare to hit the pool it’s important to watch out for swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa is an infection in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. It’s often brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth.
Putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in your ears also can lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin lining your ear canal.
Swimmer’s ear is usually treated successfully with eardrops. The symptoms are usually mild at first, but they may get worse if your infection isn’t treated or spreads. Prompt treatment can help prevent complications and more-serious infections.
About Swimmers Ear
- Otitis Externa causes redness and swelling in the external ear canal, which is the tube between the outer ear and eardrum. It’s referred to as swimmer’s ear as repeated exposure to water can make the ear more susceptible to inflammation and infection.
- Water clears earwax out of the external ear canal, which can make it itchy. Trying to scratch inside the ear can cause the fragile skin of the canal to break down, allowing exposure to infection. Water also creates a moist environment that encourages bacteria to grow.
- Symptoms can include ear pain that ranges from moderate to severe, discharge of liquid or pus from the ear and a degree of temporary hearing loss. It will usually only occur in one ear.
- With treatment, symptoms will usually clear within two to three days, but in some cases they can persist for several months which is known as chronic Otitis Externa. Painkillers and eardrops are usually prescribed for the condition, but in extreme cases antibiotics may be prescribed.
- It is recommended to wear a swimmers hat to cover the ears and protect them from water when swimming. It is also important to make sure ear canals are clear of water after swimming, bathing and showering.
Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.