Love to swim? A guide to protecting your ears in the water

Published 06 June 2022  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 2 mins read

You may have heard of ‘surfer’s ear’ or ‘swimmer’s ear’. They’re real conditions that can cause discomfort or even hearing loss.

Whatever type of water activities you’re planning to take part in this summer, we’ve got the lowdown on how to keep your ears safe.

Spotting the symptoms

Swimmer’s ear, more formally called ‘otitis externa’, is an infection of the ear canal that can occur if you don’t dry your ears properly after water-based activities (even showering!). That’s because bacteria love the warm and moist conditions.

If you’ve got any of the following symptoms, it’s a good idea to see your GP:

  • Reduced hearing sensitivity
  • Irritation around the ear
  • Pain or feeling of pressure in the ear
  • Temperature or sickness
  • Discharge from the ear
  • A ringing in your ears – known as tinnitus
A swimmer

Prevention is better than cure

An infection is likely to clear up quite quickly, but prevention is always better than cure right? So we’ve got some tips on how to avoid swimmer’s ear from the word go…

  • Thoroughly dry your ears after water activities with a soft towels (never cotton wool buds!)
  • Tilt your head to each side to let any excess water naturally drain out
  • When bathing, take care that no products (soaps, etc.) get inside your ears
  • Wear a swimming cap in the pool

Earplugs for water babies

If you spend a lot of time in the water, whether that’s for your job or a sport you play, some custom-fit ear plugs will be your new best friend. Unlike foam ear plugs which are made to block out noise, our custom earplugs are moulded especially to your ear canal to prevent any water getting in, while allowing you to continue with your activity.

Book an appointment

If you would like more information about our custom-made ear plugs for swimming, you can book an appointment with one of our friendly, expert audiologists. Simply give us a call on 0800 52 00 546 or book online. You can also just pop into your local branch – we’ll always be happy to help!

Remember, if your symptoms are severe or persistent, it’s important to see your GP right away.