How to Protect Your Ears Before and After Swimming

Every time you go swimming, you should keep your ears safe. Taking precautions can help prevent an infection like swimmer’s ear, which is typically caused by leftover water and bacteria in the ear canal. Here are some tips for protecting your ears while swimming.

Precautions Before You Swim

A person jumping off a dock into a body of water

Make sure that you’re swimming in a body of water that’s sanitary. Pools are often the safest place to swim. Try to stay away from stagnant water because a lack of water flow is more likely to promote bacteria and parasite growth. When swimming outdoors, it’s best to stick to rivers, beaches, and other bodies of water that have some form of constant movement.

If you’re a frequent swimmer, you should purchase ear protection that prevents water from entering your ears. If possible, choose earplugs that are designed specifically for swimming. You can also talk to your audiologist about having a pair of custom swim molds made for you. If earplugs feel uncomfortable, you can wear a swim cap with ear pockets instead.

Treating Water-Clogged Ears After Swimming

Gently pat the outside of your ears dry with a clean, soft towel. If you still feel water in one of your ears, lean your head to the side while pulling gently on your earlobe. Be careful not to push the towel or any other objects, like a cotton swab, beyond the opening of the ear canal because this may damage your ear. For ears that still feel water-clogged, you can purchase over the counter ear drops to help remove excess moisture.

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear

If you’re experiencing ear irritation a few days after spending an afternoon in the water, you may be suffering from swimmer’s ear. Here are a few of the most common symptoms:

  • Persistent itching sensations in the ear canal
  • Redness on the inside of the ear
  • Muffled hearing
  • Fluid drainage from the ear
  • Pain when you touch or wiggle the earlobe
  • Fever

If you think you’re experiencing swimmer’s ear, you should seek medical attention. At Associated Hearing Professionals, our experienced audiologists can assist you with a range of concerns related to your ears and hearing loss. We have two locations in the St. Louis area that are both wheelchair accessible to accommodate adult patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 314-725-2686 today or fill out our online form.