Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is an infection that happens in the outer ear canal. Swimmer’s ear is very painful and can result in complications like long-term infection or bone and cartilage damage, so it’s important to visit the doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms.
Symptoms are typically mild in the beginning; for example, people might experience an itching in their ear canal. Sometimes swimmer’s ear can be detected if you feel a bit of pain or discomfort when you pull on the top of your ear or by pushing on the little bump on the outside of your ear.
As swimmer’s ear advances, symptoms become more painful. Sometimes people will experience a fullness in the ear. As the condition progresses even further, it becomes more and more painful. This article will take a look at the causes of swimmer’s ear and how to prevent it.
Causes of Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is an infection caused by bacteria that is found in both water and soil. There are several things that can cause this bacteria to grow, including:
Excess Moisture in the Ear
Many different factors can contribute to excess moisture in the ear, including heavy perspiration, continuous humid weather, and water that was left in the ears after swimming.
Scratches in the Ear Canal
Bacteria can also grow when there are small breaks in the skin. This can be caused by using q-tips, scratching the inside of your ear, or from wearing headphones or hearing aids.
In some cases, hair products or jewelry can cause allergies that can lead to infection.
Risk factors, then, include swimming, having a narrow ear canal (this is why children commonly get swimmer’s ear as the ear can trap water in the ears much easier), using q-tips aggressively, as well as wearing headphones or hearing aids.
Wear Custom Ear Plugs
If you spend a lot of time in the pool, or you are prone to ear infections, custom swimming ear plugs—ear plugs that are moulded to the shape of your ear—deliver a tight seal that will help prevent water (and therefore bacteria) from entering your ear.
Avoid Inserting Items Into Your Ear
Avoid scratching your ear as much as possible and avoid using q-ips (especially in an aggressive manner). Also choose over-ear or full-size headphones instead of earbuds, especially when it’s hot out or when you think you will perspire a lot.
If you are in need of custom swimming ear plugs, consider House of Hearing Clinic. House of Hearing Clinic is a well-established hearing care clinic, home to professionally trained audiologists. We have successfully treated more than 7000 patients. Book your appointment today here. You can also contact us here.