Nicole Holmer, MS, CCC-A, Pediatric Audiologist, Seattle Children's Hospital
What is swimmer's ear?
Swimmer's ear is an infection of your outer ear canal. Swimmer's ear can be caused by:
Some people with skin conditions may get swimmer's ear more easily.
Swimmer's ear can be painful. It can happen to children or adults. If you are having ear pain, you should see your doctor or an ear, nose, and throat doctor, also called an ENT or otolaryngologist.
What are the signs of swimmer's ear?
You may have some hearing loss if your ear is swollen or draining. This hearing loss usually goes away after the infection is gone.
How is swimmer's ear treated?
Swimmer's ear is usually treated with ear drops from your doctor. Your doctor may clean your ear canal or take a sample of any drainage to see which medicine will work the best. If your ear canal is very swollen, the doctor may have to leave a piece of cotton soaked in medicine in your ear to fight the infection. Your doctor may recommend a pain reliever if your ear canal hurts.
How can I avoid getting swimmer's ear?
The best way to avoid an infection is to keep your ear canal dry! Here are some tips to keep your ears dry and healthy:
What should I do if I think I have swimmer's ear?
Swimmer's ear can be treated, so contact your doctor or ENT right away. If you still have hearing problems after treatment, have your hearing tested by an audiologist.