With summer finally here, many people are spending their days relaxing at the beach or nearby pool. Because people will be spending more time in and around the water, it’s important to practice safe swimming. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), swimmer’s ear accounts for nearly 2.4 million health care visits a year. Knowing what swimmer’s ear is and how to prevent it will help you and your ears have a safer, more enjoyable summer.
Swimmer’s ear is the common name for a painful infection, inflammation or irritation that is caused when water gets trapped in the ear after swimming. As a result, bacteria or fungus may grow, causing itching and discomfort. This condition should be treated in its early stages while the impact is still minor. Doing so helps to relieve the pain and lessens the chance of hearing loss or further infection.
Swimmer’s ear is usually very easy to detect. Here are just a few of the more common symptoms:
Swimmer’s ear can lead to temporary hearing loss that usually resolves after the infection has cleared up. If left untreated, you might experience recurring infections and even permanent bone or cartilage damage.
Fortunately, treatment for swimmer’s ear is quite simple. Here’s what it involves:
If you want to reduce the likelihood of getting swimmer’s ear and the potential temporary hearing loss that can accompany it, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
If you think you’re experiencing swimmer’s ear, or it seems to happen to you often, seek assistance from your physician.