Ear Canal Infection in Swimmers

A common ear canal infection that swimmers will have is called otitis externa or swimmer’s ear. This condition occurs when the lipid layer of the ear canal is removed over time and the ear becomes red and swollen and your ear aches. This area may feel tender when pulled back.

So how does a person end up with an ear canal infection like this? This often begins with excess amounts of water enter the ear canal and it is mixed with sand, dirt and other contaminants in the water. Once swimmers have experienced swimmer’s ear in the past, they will find that it does become a more common reoccurrence.

But what puts a person at a higher risk of swimmers ear? To begin with, those with hair and narrow ear canals will often experience this ear canal infection more than others. Additionally, those who frequently use cotton swabs and push the wax further in the ear will find that their risk factors are also greater too.

Ear Canal Infection Pain

You will find that swimmer’s ear’s symptoms may resemble other ear infections to a degree. This includes moderate to pain, feeling of fullness in the ear and possibly itching. This condition can worsen over time and the individual may experience drainage, hearing loss and pain that worsens when you are chewing or move your earlobe.

Swimmers that have this ear infection will find that if they are elderly, or have been diagnosed with diabetes, HIV or other immune disorders that they may be prone to malignant external otitis. This is a condition that has the potential to become fatal if not treated with antibiotics. Symptoms include severe ear pain, paralysis of the face, hoarseness and severe pain in the throat. The condition is causes when the infection in the ear spreads to the bones in the head.

Proper Treatment

With proper treatment, ear canal infections can be treated in as little as a few days. This can be as simple as visiting your doctor to help remove the liquid in the ear and have liquid antibiotics placed in the ear. As long as the eardrum isn’t ruptured, you can rinse the ear with a half and half solution of white vinegar and warm saline in the ear. An alternative is swimmer’s ear drops that can be purchased in many stores. Just make sure you don’t use an ear wax candle that can cause the condition to worsen.

If you are having pain, you can take aspirin, ibuprofen or Tylenol or acetaminophen as needed. If pain and soreness worsens over time and doesn’t appear to get better, you will need to seek out the assistance of a medical professional. This can a sign that the infection may be spreading and you will want to take a proactive approach to protect your health and hearing.

As a swimmer, there is a strong possibility that you will experience swimmer’s ear at some point. If you keep all this information in mind, you can proactively treat it and avoid further complications - yeah natural healing and swim better!

Today's Swimming Workout

Warm-up: 2 X 400 relaxed Individual Medley (IM: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle) as alternating 50 kick and 50 swim or drill

Kick with swim fins: 2 X 200

2 x 200 drill into perfect swim technique

6 X 100 as 25 butterfly, 75 freestyle

100 tai chi style freestyle

6 X 100 as 25 backstroke, 75 freestyle

100 tai chi style freestyle

4 X 25 sprint

Cool-down:  400 as alternating 50 relaxed, tai chi style and 50 swim your choice of swimming strokes

Total:  3500 meters or yards depending on the length of your pool


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