How to prevent swimmer’s ear?

Author thumbnail Aqsa Yousaf  |  Published 20 June 2023  | Updated 03 July 2023  | 3 mins read

Person in a wetsuit, swimming front crawl in the sea.

How to prevent swimmer’s ear?

After a day spent basking in the glorious sunshine, taking a dip in the pool or making a splash in the sea is the perfect way to cool off, but before you next dive in, take some consideration for your ears.

Join us as we explore the signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear and how we can protect our ears against it.

A man wearing a wetsuit and putting on a swim cap.

What is swimmer’s ear?

Also known as otitis externa, swimmer’s ear is a common bacterial ear infection that is usually caused by water which has been sitting in the ear canal for an extended period of time. Not only can some water carry certain bacteria, but when it’s in our ear, it creates the perfect moist environment for the bacteria to grow and thrive.

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear

Symptoms can vary from person to person, but typically you may notice some of these symptoms:

  • You may notice a redness or swelling in the ear.
  • You may experience sensations of pain, heat or itchiness
  • Your hearing might seem muffled
  • You may experience a watery discharge from the ear 

It’s important to recognise these symptoms as, if left untreated, they can worsen. We would advise you to see your GP or an audiologist if you are experiencing any of them.

 How to prevent swimmer’s ear

Prevention is always better than treatment, so here are our handy tips for protecting your ears while swimming and avoiding swimmer’s ear.


Check the water

If you are a fan of wild or fresh water swimming, then it’s important you do your research about the areas you intend to swim in. Sometimes these areas can be full of dirty or contaminated water that we (and our ears) want to avoid. You can click here to check out what the bathing water quality is like in your local area.

Different coloured towels.

Keep your ears dry

Keeping your ears nice and dry throughout your swim (and drying them off afterward) will help to keep swimmer’s ear at bay. We advise the use of a swimming cap and ear plugs to help with this. After your swim, make sure to gently tilt your head from one side to the other to drain any water that might have found its way into your ear, then carefully dry the exterior with a towel.

Here at The Hearing Care Partnership, our hearing care experts will be able to help provide you with the very best hearing protection, including custom-fitted ear plugs for swimming. Simply call us on 0800 52 00 546 or click below to book an appointment.

Look after your ears

As tempting as it can be, should anything feel ‘trapped’ inside your ears, don’t be tempted to clean them yourself. Inserting objects, such as cotton buds, can do more harmthan good and often makes the situation worse. 

Instead, you should contact your GP or local THCP Audiologist who will be able to assist you. 

Talk to us today!

Whether you are experiencing symptoms of swimmer’s ear or you’d like to find out more about our custom hearing protection, book an appointment today, and our friendly hearing care team will take care of everything. 

To book, you can call us on 0800 52 00 546 or book an appointment online.