Swimmer's ear is a common problem amongst people who spend much time in the water. It is caused by the softening effect of water on the ear. In addition, chemicals and irritants can make the problem worse. Those who use the municipal pool are at risk of chlorine and germs entering their ears. The warm water swirls around the ear canal. It's rinses the protective wax away. This exposes the underlying skin to the water.
So how can you prevent swimmers ear? Here are a few tips.
1) Seek treatment at the first sign of inflammation.
The problem often starts with mild itching and irritation. At this point it might be worth staying out of the water if this is easily done and won't affect your training schedule too much. You must always seek medical advice if you think you may have an ear problem. You might need some ear drops to treat the condition.
2) Clear water from your ears.
After swimming tilt your head sideways in both directions to clear water from your ears. Pulling your outer ear in different directions can help to get it out. Water can get trapped in recesses of the ear. Distorting the ear canal can release the surface tension and let it out.
3) Rinse your ears.
You can use clean drinking water or surgical alcohol. This can get rid of dirt and bacteria. Remember to take a small bottle with you. Alcohol has a drying effect as well as killing bacteria.
4) Wear ear plugs.
A good pair of swimming earplugs is ideal for preventing swimmer's ear. ZenPlugs are spot on. They have a unique double action on swimmer's ear. Not only are they waterproof they also contain an anti-bacterial which kills all of the nasties which infect your ear canal.
Dr Toby Bateson