Here at Advanced Hearing, we place a lot of importance in understanding ear health and hygiene. Unfortunately, unlike many other health issues, there isn't a lot of awareness of ear health issues and hygiene. Today, we're discussing swimmer's ear. There are many causes for hearing loss, but damage to the inner, middle or outer areas of the ear are common causes for onset hearing loss. This is why it pays to prevent ear infection as much as possible, and to know how to act quickly when an infection occurs.
Today we are looking at Swimmer's Ear, a common infection that can affect anyone at any age.
What is Swimmer's Ear?
Swimmer's Ear, also known as External Otitis, is a common ear infection. Specifically, it is a bacterial infection which affects the skin covering the outer and inner ear canal. The reason the infection is sometimes referred to as Swimmer's Ear, is that it is commonly caused by excessive water exposure, which is usually from water-based activities such as swimming, surfing, diving or kayaking. It is caused by water collecting in the ear canal, which can then become trapped by wax. As a result, the skin in that area frequently becomes wet and unhealthily soggy. This wet surface is then, as a result, a breeding ground for these bacteria. Less frequently, cuts in the lining of the ear canal can also create an ideal environment for bacterial infection to grow. This can be caused by pressing a cotton swab with too much pressure in the ear.
What Are the Symptoms of Swimmer's Ear?
The first symptom that sufferers commonly notice is a feeling of having a full ear. A feeling of swelling in the ear then follows. The infection can then become very painful if left untreated. As the condition worsens, sufferers may experience swelling in the side of the face and the neck, and can become quite uncomfortable. If you experience any of these symptoms or you believe you may have an infection such as Swimmer's Ear, it is advisable to consult a specialist doctor.
How to Prevent Swimmer's Ear?
If you are a swimmer, or you take part in water-based sports on a regular basis, it can be advisable to wear medical ear plugs to protect the ear canal from excessive water exposure. Equally, if a specialist has told you that you may be prone to ear infections, or if you believe you may be, then it is advisable to wear ear plugs whenever your ear is likely to come into contact with a lot of water. It is also advisable to not press too hard and in your ear too deeply with cotton buds or ear cleaners. On the same note, it is important to keep the ear clean from excessive wax build up. If you tend to experience a lot of wax build up, it may be wise to visit your doctor to discuss the possibility of regular, medical ear cleaning.
If you believe you may have Swimmer's Ear, or you believe to have a predisposition to infection and you swim regularly, it is important to talk to your doctor or a specialist. Good, daily ear health can help to prevent consequent hearing loss in the future.