Unlike many other health issues, there isn't a lot of awareness of ear health issues and hygiene. Today, we'll be taking a look at 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.
Let's take a look at what swimmer's ear is, its symptoms, and how to prevent it.
What is Swimmer's Ear?
Swimmer's Ear, also known as external otitis, is a common ear infection. More specifically, it is a bacterial infection that affects the skin covering the outer and inner ear canal. The reason this 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.
Swimmer's ear occurs when water is collected in the ear canal, which then becomes trapped by wax. As a result, the skin in that area becomes wet. This wet surface then becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Less frequently, cuts in the lining of the ear canal can also create the ideal environment for a 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 feeling as if they have a of a full ear. Thereafter, a feeling of swelling in the ear 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, causing much discomfort. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Swimmer's Ear?
If you are a swimmer, or you take part in water-based sports on a regular basis, wearing medical ear plugs is recommended for protecting the ear canal from excessive water exposure. Equally, if a specialist has told you that you may be prone to ear infections, then it is advisable to wear ear plugs whenever your ear is likely to come into contact with a lot of water.
In addition to wearing medical ear plugs, you should also refrain from pressing too hard into your q-tips, cotton swabs, or other ear cleaners. At the same time, 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 discuss the possibility of regular, medical ear cleanings with your doctor.
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.
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