Do you find yourself loving every minute when you are swimming in a pool, lake or ocean? You’re not alone. Swimming is extremely fun and relaxing. It’s great exercise and it’s on everyone’s to-do list when the weather warms up. One thing to consider when swimming is your hearing health. If you are swimming constantly, you could potentially be putting your hearing in danger if not managed properly.
How does swimming affect your ears?
Swimming at long lengths of time can lead to a common ear condition called otitis externa, or commonly known as “swimmer’s ear”. This condition causes the tube between the outer ear and the eardrum to become inflamed. This happens when your ears are subjected to a bacteria found in lakes, oceans, rivers and even pools that aren’t treated properly with chemicals. In extreme circumstances, it can even happen in the shower.
Symptoms and Real Concerns
While sometimes swimmers ears can go away and not cause damage, other times it can include sever pain, itchiness and a degree of temporary hearing loss. Swimmer’s ear can be treated simply by avoiding swimming again and immersing your ears in water. You can even try over-the-counter ear drops to soothe the pain. However, in extreme cases, swimmer’s ear can cause an infection which can lead to blockage in your ear. This is when you will need to contact your doctor to receive professional medical attention.
How to protect your ears
Here are some ways you can protect your ears to reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear:
- Swim in pools you know are properly chlorinated to avoid infection
- Wear earplugs use a swimming cap to cover your ears when swimming
- Always clean and dry your ears out properly after swimming
- If you get water in your ear, try to remove immediately
- DO NOT try to remove any water with ear Q-tips as you may force wax deeper into your ear blocking the water