With the summer holidays coming up quickly, it can be difficult to remember everything before eagerly hopping into your swimsuit and running straight out to the ocean or swimming pool. But just as you would stop and put on your sun cream, there’s something else that needs to be looked after too: your ears!
Our ears are very sensitive and when exposed to water for extended periods, can easily become infected. That’s not to say you should never go swimming or take a shower again, but it’s important that you take proper care of your ears before and after exposure to water.
Otitis Externa, more commonly known as “swimmer’s ear”, is an infection of the ear canal. It can occur if your ears are not dried properly after swimming or showering. Symptoms of swimmer’s ear can include reduced hearing sensitivity, irritation, pain or a feeling of pressure, ear discharge, temperature and sickness.
It is important that you see your GP if you are showing symptoms of swimmer’s ear. But before this becomes necessary, there are ways in which you can protect your ears and prevent swimmer’s ear from ever happening.
Ear plugs for swimming
Though swimmer’s ear is usually very easy to treat, there’s no reason not to use ear protection when out in the water. Wearing ear plugs for swimming provides an extra level of protection and helps to prevent water from getting trapped inside your ear, which is the cause of swimmer’s ear.
Silicone or conical ear plugs are easy to use, they can be worn for swimming and are generally inexpensive. However, foam ear plugs are not recommended for swimming – they are designed for hearing protection but are not well suited for protection against swimmer’s ear.
THCP also provide custom-made ear plugs that fit into your ear canal. These are a worthwhile investment if you spend a lot of time in the water and want to keep yourself protected.
Caring for your ears
These are some top tips on preventing swimmer’s ear and looking after your ears properly:
- After a swim or a shower, use a soft towel to dry your ears thoroughly
- Don’t put anything in your ears (including cotton buds)
- Tilt your head from side to side to let the water drain out
- Try to avoid products entering the ears (soap, shampoo etc.)
- Wear ear plugs specially designed to keep out water
- Consider wearing a swimming cap
Book a free hearing test
If you are concerned about swimmer’s ear or would like to find out more about our hearing protection services, you can book a free hearing test today by calling us on 0800 52 00 546. Alternatively, you can book online or pop into your nearest THCP practice.