Most people think of swimmer’s ear as a disorder you get after a dip in the pool or a dunk in the ocean. The truth though is that the malady can strike anytime moisture becomes trapped in the ear canal. Even on dry land, sweat and humid conditions can lead to this painful condition.
In the majority of cases, your body’s natural defences fight off the bacteria, viruses and fungal invaders that can cause swimmer’s ear. You can thank your earwax for that. It may be troublesome, but nature puts it there for a reason; to protect you. When it becomes overly softened by moisture and heat or the tissue in the ear is damaged, you become more susceptible to infections.
While otitis externa, as doctors refer to swimmer’s ear, is easily treated, it can also be painful to endure. The best way to deal with it is to practice proper ear canal management.
To that end, we here at Falls of Sound Hearing offer these few guidelines. When the weather gets warm, and the humidity rises like the tide.
- Avoid damaging the delicate tissue in your ears. As the old saying goes, “Never put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow”. Even cotton buds can cause damage and should only be used on the exterior of the ear.
- If you wear in the ear hearing aids, it can be advisable to remove them and allow air to circulate freely into your ear canal. This is especially true after strenuous activities that could cause sweat to be trapped behind your hearing aid.
- If you have cleaned your hearing aid, be sure that it is well dried before inserting. A little moisture goes a long way in the confined space of your ear canal.
- If your ears need cleaning, visit your hearing centre or medical doctor to have them cleaned. Again, never put anything in your ears.
- If you do suspect you have moisture in your ears, give it some time to find its natural way out of the canal.
These are guidelines, if in doubt contact your nearest Falls of Sound Hearing Clinic or contact your GP.