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Published on May 25, 2018

How to Get Rid of Swimmer's Ear and Prevent It This Summer

How to Get Rid of Swimmer's Ear

The sun is shining, it’s swimming season and it’s a great time to take a trip to the pool. In warm weather, kids spend lots of time playing in the water. After they dry off, they might start to experience ear pain. A case of swimmer’s ear might be the reason.

Swimmer’s ear is often caused by germs that get in the ear canal, which starts at the outside of the ear and ends inside at the eardrum. When water or other objects that don’t belong get inside the ear, germs can grow and the ear can be painful. Both adults and children can get swimmer's ear, and swimming is not the only cause. However, people who swim often are more likely to get it.

Swimmer’s ear can cause pain, swelling, itching and redness. Clear or colored liquid may leak out. You might have trouble hearing or feel like your ear is packed. Ear pain may get worse when the outside of the ear is touched or pulled.

Here’s how to get rid of swimmer's ear:

  • Tilt the head to the side to drain the ear after being in water
  • Keep the ear dry by protecting it from water
  • Dry the ear gently with a hairdryer
  • Use over-the-counter eardrops made for swimmer’s ear
  • Ease ear pain by carefully using a heating pad or taking pain medicine

Swimmer's ear is easy to prevent. Keep these tips in mind for healthy kid and adult ears:

  • Avoid swimming in unclean water
  • Block water from getting in the ear with a swim cap or earplugs
  • Limit time using items that go in the ear such as earplugs or headphones
  • Keep ears dry by letting water drain out after water activities
  • Don’t use cotton swabs to clean the ear

If swimmer's ear continues to cause ear pain, contact a health care provider. Try a Connected Care e-visit for a quick, convenient consultation with a board certified healthcare provider from your home, office or even poolside.

About the Author

William C Martin, PA-CWilliam C Martin, PA-C is a provider for both Connected Care and LeBauer Primary Care at Summerfield Village