A leading Irish audiologist has warned swimmers not to let swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) spoil their summer fun. Keith Ross, audiologist with Hidden Hearing, says that swimmer’s ear is a common summertime ailment but if left untreated can result in complications such as hearing loss.
Otitis externa is referred to as ‘swimmer’s ear’ as repeated exposure to water increases the risk of contracting the condition. When water gets trapped inside the ear canal it creates a moist environment which encourages bacteria to grow and causes infection. Putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in ears can also lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal.
Hidden Hearing audiologist Keith Ross explains, “As holiday season approaches and people prepare to hit the pool, it’s important to remember to protect your ears during water activities. Swimmer’s ear is a common complaint, especially in older children and adults who swim regularly or get unclean water in their ears, and for that reason people often get it after a day at the beach or pool. While it isn’t serious if treated promptly, it can ruin a holiday, with many sufferers complaining of excruciating pain, and lead to hearing complications if left untreated.”
The most common symptoms of swimmer’s ear are pain and discomfort inside the ear or a sensation of an itchy canal. Other possible signs include difficulty hearing, feeling like the ear is blocked, discharge of liquid or pus from the ear or redness and swelling around the ear.
Swimmer’s ear is usually treated successfully with eardrops and painkillers. Prompt treatment can help prevent complications such as advanced hearing loss, recurring ear infections, the spread of infection to the face or neck, or even damage to the cartilage and bone of the ear.
“Before taking the plunge this summer remember these simple steps: wear a swimming hat to cover your ears and make sure ear canals are clear of water after swimming, bathing and showering by drying your ears with a towel or tilting your head to each side to allow water to escape. By being proactive about hearing health and taking a few precautionary measures you can make sure you have a safe and fun summer without the risk of more serious conditions such as hearing loss” advised Keith Ross.
With over 25 years’ experience in hearing healthcare, Hidden Hearing is committed to providing the most professional hearing healthcare service to its customers. 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.