Before we discuss the ways on to how to treat swimmer’s ear, let us define what exactly is Swimmer’s Ear. Swimmer’s Ear is one of the many causes of outer ear disorders or external otitis.
What is External Otitis?
This is an infection of the ear canal.
External otitis or otitis externa may affect the entire ear canal or just a portion thereof, such as in the case of a boil or a pimple.
Here are some of the common causes of external otitis
- Bacteria, and in some cases Fungi,
- People with allergies, psoriasis, or scalp dermatitis may be susceptible,
- Injury of the ear canal, whilst cleaning,
- Irritants such as hair spray or hair dye,
- Swimming in fresh water pools( Swimmer’s Ear).
So, swimmers ears is the condition whereby due to prolonged water exposure or humidity compromises the protective barriers of the ear canal skin thus allowing infection to occur.
What are the common symptoms of External Otitis?
An acute infection of the external ear canal will cause people to feel one or more of the following symptoms depending on the severity,
- Unpleasant white or yellow discharge,
- Swelling or inflammation,
- Itching and Pain,
- If there is pus along with inflammation, then the hearing might be affected,
Did You Know?
That wearing ear plugs and hearing aids are likely to cause external otitis and more so, if they are not properly cleaned!!!
How to treat Swimmer’s ear?
Okay, this would be depend on how bad the infection actually is.
If it is infected, then a doctor would first have to remove the infected debris from the ear canal by suctioning it up or by using dry cotton wipes.
Once this is done, the hearing should go back to normal.
If the infection is more persistent, then antibiotic ear drops inserted into the ear for a week for up to three or four times a day, usually does the trick!!!
Some ear drops may also contain a corticosteroid. This helps with the inflammation and associated pain.
Orally, one can take Paracetmol(Acetaminophen), analgesics or a combination with Codeine during the first 24-48hours, until the pain subsides!
Is there a way that I can prevent Swimmer’s ear?
As I mentioned before, Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal. Most often caused by a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
By treating this bacteria with vinegar, it helps to kill it off. Vinegar allows for the normal acidity to be maintained in the ear, which does NOT allow the bacteria to grow anymore.
So, you can prevent swimmer’s ear by putting drops of a solution that is made up of, half of rubbing alcohol and half vinegar in the ear before and after swimming!!
Check this quick short clip out, courtesy of The Health Fixer
Another thing is to avoid swimming in polluted water, using hair sprays and spending too much time in warm humid cultures, until the discomfort wears off.
Things to do after swimming
- Dry your ears well with a towel,
- Tilting you head to one side at time whilst drying allows for proper drainage of water,
- Pulling gently on your earlobe also helps for proper drainage.
Some product suggestions
For those of you who are looking for ready-made ear drops preparations to use, you are in for a treat.
I have reviewed two fantastic ear drops products below. I think either of these two will do the job for Swimmer’s Ear.
So please be sure to check them out!!!
1.Hyland’s Earache Drops, Natural Homeopathic Cold & Flu Earaches, Swimmers Ear and Allergies Relief, 0.33 Ounce
Made By : Hyland’s Homeopathic
Price of Product : $6.73
Where to Buy : Amazon.com or ebay.com
Overall Rating : 4.4 out of 5stars
About this Product
Essentially this is a Homeopathic product and as such it:
- Has no interactions with antibiotics or other medications,
- Safe for Adults and Kids 2years and upwards,
- Non-habit Forming,
- Contains no Aspirin or Acetaminophen,
How Does this product Work?
- This product helps to temporarily relieve the symptoms of fever, pain, irritability and sleeplessness that is associated with earaches in adults and children alike,
- It also helps to relieve the pain and itching that is common in Swimmer’s Ear.
- It helps to relieve earache symptoms that may be associated with conditions such as colds, flu and allergies as well.
- It is effective within the first 48hours of an onset of any episode.
My Take on this product
As a pharmacist, I am all for natural therapies as well. I do believe that they have their place and would certainly recommend this product here.
I strongly would advise against using it if you suspect that your eardrum may be perforated or if there is a pus or discharge coming from the ear. I would seek medical attention in these instances.
Having looked at the active ingredients, the Belladonna is great for treating fever, the Chamomilla for sleeplessness and irritability and the Pulsatilla for ear aching pain, all in a unique formulation.
It was interesting to read that one of the customers used this product for their German Shepherd and found it to work wonders.
I think it is worthwhile to give this product a try.
2.Swim-Ear Ear-Water Drying Aid, 1 fl oz (29.57 ml)
Made By : Swim Ear
Price of Product : $5.91
Where to Buy : Amazon.com or ebay.com
Overall Rating : 4.5 out of 5 Stars.
About this Product
This product helps to get rid of water that gets trapped or clogged up in the ear, caused after bathing, showering, diving or hair washing.
As a result it prevents the ear discomfort or any pain that may be associated with clogged up ears.
How does it work?
It basically consists of 95% Isopropyl Alcohol, which acts as a drying agent. By this action, it relieves the discomfort and the sensation of fullness or any related hearing impairment.
My take on this product
I think this product is great to keep the ear clean and clear. It can be used everyday. Some people swear by the product and having used it for over 30years!!
Some people have reported that it helps with the removal of ear wax. That is interesting to know.
I think because of its primary ingredient namely the alcohol base, one should make sure that the skin of the canal is not sensitive in nature. As it may cause slight burning, which may be discomforting.
Should this be the case, rather go for my option 1.
⇒Now that you know how to treat Swimmers Ear, why not learn more on how to take care of the ear. Read, “How to take care of the ears.”⇐
You have learned today, what otitis externa is and that swimmer’s ear is one of the causes of this condition. You have also gained an idea on how to treat swimmers ears, should you or someone you know is affected, then you know exactly what to do.
Before I leave you, just a quick reminder not to forget to check out my latest blog on what is happening regarding Tinnitus, the feature topic of this site.
Here is the shortcut,
⇒What is the Tinnitus Terminator?⇐
Thank you very much for stopping by and I hope this article has helped you.
Please feel free to share using your favourite social platform with your fellow family and friends.
Sharing is Caring
My youngest daughter always has ear problems from swimming pools. I learned the trick about alcohol and now use that.
We learned that a hot water bottle would get her sleeping if she laid on it as she tried to sleep. This is a great article.
I didn’t know I could put drops before swimming and after and I will do that for now on.
How old does someone have to be to use the drops?
Thank you for sharing.
I like the idea of the hot water bottle. That sounds great, I will recommend it to some of the mums that stop by in the pharmacy with similar complaints.
I would recommend the drops from 5years and upwards.
Glad that you enjoyed the article.
Thanks, Roopesh, for giving us this caution on External Otitis (otitis externa) here. A lot of people certainly wear ear plugs nowadays, and I’m so lucky to escape here because I do not wear them so much. But, now, I have this (bad) habit of using ear buds excessively on my ears – even though I do get quiet gentle with them. Am I at risk of External Otitis here, and, if so, do I need to preemptively use vinegar with the ear buds??
You are most welcome.
Glad you found this article helpful.
I think as long as you are using the ear plugs correctly and ar been gentle when using them, you should be okay.
I don’t think you need to use vinegar all the time.Only when it starts troubling you.
Hope this helps.
Very informative post!
I had swimmers ear once before and it was one of the most painful and unpleasant things I have ever experienced.
It wasn’t until I got the infection cleaned out with a cotton swab that I started getting better! Have you ever experienced swimmer’s ear?
Once again, awesome post, keep ’em coming!
Thank you for the compliment.
Yes, I have experienced Swimmer’s Ear before and can tell you that it really was not a good experience as well.My one actually lead to an ear infection which led me to take antibiotic.
Thanks once again for stopping by.
I get swimmers ear quite regularly when I swim in pools a lot. I never seem to get problems swimming in the ocean, just chlorinated water. Very painful.
It’s interesting that you mention rubbing alcohol and vinegar as a prevention. It totally works. When I do a lot of swimming I mix up a batch of this in a sauce bottle so I can squirt it into my ears after I get out of the pool. The alcohol dries the water in the ear while the vinegar kills bacteria, as you say in your article. Great post.
Glad to hear that the stuff works.
I too use it when I go to the pools, and it seems to work every single time.
Thanks for swinging by.
This is a wonderful site and has so much useful information, so thank you!
I do not swim but I get so much water in my left ear from showering that I joke I have swimmers ear. For some reason, I always tilt my head just the right way so water fills my left ear. When I fly that ear often is very painful in take offs and landings. But it never hurts any other time. In the mornings, when I lay on my left side, I feel drainage in that ear. But again, no pain and my hearing is excellent so I never felt the need to see an ear Doctor. So now I am wondering, would the rubbing alcohol and vinegar mixture be something that I could benefit from or is that only for swimmers ear?
Thank so much for this site,
You are Welcome. Glad that you like the site.
To be honest with you, I would NOT recommend the rubbing mixture into your ear. For a simple reason, you got no pain and your hearing is fine. Okay, I hear you, when you say that it gets painful with pressure changes, but otherwise you are okay.
Just my 2cents here.
Hope it helps.
Thank you Roopesh,
You have a solid perspective on this issue so I am glad I asked you first. I will take your advise on not using the rubbing mixture in my case. :))
This is a site I will visit again,.
Always a pleasure. Take care of yourself.
Look forward to hearing from you again.
All the best
My name is Jill, I’m 15 years old. Recently I went swimming and around 2 days ago, I started getting a very bad ear ache, currently my face is full of fluid, and my ear canal is swollen shut, I’m in so much pain and I’m ready to pass out, the ear drops aren’t helping, and I’m in serious pain. To the point where I want to pass out. I went to the doctor and got a shot, that didn’t help. Please can anyone give me tips on how to get the pain to go away. What’s the water bottle trick? Thank you for seeing my comment
Its lovely to meet you. I am so sorry to about your ordeal. Did the doc give just an injection. I think that it could be a possible infection. It could also be sinus related.
I would recommend a corticosteroid nasal spray with an oral decongestant. You can probably buy these over the counter at your pharmacy. If that don’t work, it might be a consideration for a doctor to prescribe some ear drops containing an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.
I hope this helps.
Let me know how it goes.
Your post is very informative and will help alot of people with this problem.
I had this ear problem a couple of months ago and really did not know it was called swimmers ear.
I do not go swimming so could it be where i go under water in the bath to wash my hair?
I think i will stock up on swim-ear as that really helped me:)