What is Swimmers' Ear?

 What is Swimmers' Ear?

What is Swimmers' Ear?

What is Swimmers Ear?  Swimmers Ear is infection involving the ear canal and outer part of the ear.  It is associated with repeated or prolonged immersion in water.  The medical term for this is otitis externa.  It can develop after being in swimming pools, baths, the sea or anywhere else where you get water in your ears.  Signs of Swimmers Ear include;

  • Soreness
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Discharge
  • Pain
  • Hearing loss

What is Swimmers Ear?  Prolonged immersion washes away the protective waxes of the ear and softens the skin, allowing bacteria to find their way in.  Good swimming earplugs such as ZenPlugs can help prevent this by preventing water entering the ear.  Swimming earplugs need to be of a good fit to be useful.  Warm tropical seas, soap and warm baths increase the risk of swimmers infection.  They introduce more bacteria and further damaging the lining of the ear.  Dirty fingers and cotton buds damage the skin layer in the ear.  This further increases the chance of infection so keep those fingers, biro lids and everything else out of your ears!  Swimmers ear can spread to the middle ear, causing 'glue ear' where fluid collects behind the ear drum.  So now, if anyone asks you 'What is Swimmers Ear', you'll be able to tell them!  More information on swimmer's ear and ear infections in general is available from this website.