Swimming is Fun! Swimmer’s Ear is not!

Swimming is FUN!
Swimmer’s Ear is NOT!

Summer is upon us and with it comes many fun-filled activities to enjoy with family and friends. We spend more time outdoors in the summer and, unfortunately, find ourselves in more situations that can damage our hearing.

Swimmer's ear (Otitis Externa) is an infection in the outer ear canal, often brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth.

Signs and symptoms

-Redness and swelling
-Ear pain
-Scaly skin
-Watery or pus-like discharge that may smell bad
-Itching and irritation
-Tenderness when the ear or jaw is moved
-Sore and swollen lymph nodes in the throat
-Some hearing loss

Risk factors

-Swimming, especially in water where bacterial levels are high
-Over-cleaning, prodding, scratching, or scraping the ear canal
-Having too much earwax
-People who use a hearing aid or other device


-Temporary hearing loss.
-Long-term infection.
-Bone and cartilage damage.
-More widespread infection.


-Keep your ears dry.
-Swim wisely.
-Avoid putting foreign objects in your ear.
-Protect your ears from irritants.
-Use caution after an ear infection or surgery.
-Wearing a swim cap that covers the ears.

A physician will advise how soon it is safe to swim after an ear infection or treatment.