Yes, many surfers get swimmer’s ear because of how much time they spend in the ocean.
It’s recommended that surfers wear earplugs in the water to protect their ear canal, but those who fail to wear them consistently are at an increased risk of developing swimmer’s ear.
Table of Contents
What Is Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection that occurs outside of the ear canal and is often due to fungi and bacteria.
When water that contains fungi or bacteria becomes trapped in the ear, it quickly causes an infection to develop.
Many kids who spend a lot of time swimming in pools develop swimmer’s ear.
When there’s a lot of moisture in the ear, it causes the skin to be broken down in the canal and leads to irritation.
Eczema and dry skin can also cause swimmer’s ear to occur.
Some people even develop it when they put foreign objects, like Q-tips, in their ears that can cause micro abrasions which then act as entry points of the fungi and bacteria.
Many children tend to tug or itch their ear a lot once the infection is present.
In severe cases, it can lead to respiratory issues, congestion, and a runny nose.
Some people even start to have watery eyes.
Will Swimmer’s Ear Go Away By Itself?
Swimmer’s ear can heal on its own without any treatment if it’s only a mild case.
Most people who have swimmer’s ear seek medical treatment because of the discomfort and pain they experience.
When in doubt see a doctor.
What Does Swimmer’s Ear Feel Like?
Swimmer’s ear can trigger a lot of itching near the ear canal.
As the condition becomes more severe, the itching can become more intense and uncomfortable.
Some people even develop slight redness on the outside of the ear.
Warmth, pain and pressure often accompany the redness once it’s present.
Some people may have a feeling of fullness in the ear and can start to suffer from hearing loss.
The affected area can also become tender and sore to touch.
How Do You Treat Or Cure Swimmer’s Ear At Home?
Our lawyers told use to tell you that we are not doctors.
We’re surfers. If you have medical questions talk to your doctor. Moving on.
You can try to treat swimmer’s ear at home by using a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol.
The alcohol encourages the affected area to dry and also prevents any of the bacteria or fungi from growing.
One teaspoon of this mixture should be poured directly into the ear and drained back out.
There are also some types of solutions you can purchase at the store to use.
If it gets worse and not better it is best to see a doctor ASAP as you don’t want to get a bigger infection in your jaw or risk losing your hearing.
Is Swimmer’s Ear Painful?
Yes, swimmer’s ear is painful, especially the longer it progresses.
The pain is often present in the outer and inner ear canal and can include inflammation where the infection is present.
The pain can resolve after seven to 10 days with prescription medication.
Pulling on the outer ear can also cause more pain to be present.
Compared to an ear infection, swimmer’s ear is located on the outside of the ear canal or close to the opening of the ear.
The pain can become more severe and intense when you’re lying down.
This can make it difficult for some people to get good sleep until the infection heals.
How To Use Swimmer’s Ear Drops
These drops are typically used to prevent water from drying in the ear, not treating active swimmers ear.
You can use them immediately after each surf to dry out any water that may be lingering.
How To Sleep With Swimmer’s Ear
When you’re suffering from swimmer’s ear, it’s important to sleep with your head resting on two to three pillows to keep it propped up.
The ear with the infection should be higher than the rest of your body throughout the night.
This will allow the fluid to drain out of the year and will also reduce some of the pressure that you’re experiencing on the ear.
This will reduce the symptoms that you’re experiencing while sleeping.
How Long Does Swimmer’s Ear Last?
Swimmer’s ear will typically clear up and heal after seven to 10 days.
This includes using ear drops to kill the bacteria and fungi that are present in the ear to promote proper healing.
Without treatment, the infection tends to last seven to 14 days.
Many people start to have pain relief after a few days of using medication or ear drops.
It’s important to continue using the drops or medication for up to 14 days to ensure the infection completely heals.
Cutting the treatment short can cause the infection to return.
What Does Swimmer’s Ear Look Like?
One of the main signs of swimmer’s ear is inflammation and redness that is present on the inside and outside of the ear.
There may be drainage that is present from the ear canal.
A rash-like appearance may also be present on the outside of the ear.
A medical professional can use an otoscope to check for any blockages that may be present.
How To Help Swimmer’s Ear Pain
Over-the-counter pain relievers are effective in treating ear pain as the infection heals. Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen are effective options.
Steroids may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation.
Ear drops and keeping your head elevated will also work well for alleviating the discomfort and making it easier to feel more comfortable.