Swimmer’s Ear – Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies

Swimmer's Ear

Alternative names :: Ear infection, Otitis externa, Swimmer Ear

What is Swimmer’s Ear infection ?

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal. If you stick your finger in your ear, you’re feeling a little of the ear canal. But if you have swimmer’s ear, and you stick your finger in your ear – YOW. Otitis externa is commonly known as swimmer’s ear – is an infection of the ear canal, the tubular opening that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.Children get it frequently. So do dogs that splash in ponds and lakes. Even taking a dip in the neighborhood pool can get the stage for a painful and occasionally serious infection called swimmer’s ear.Swimmer’s ear, or external otitis, occurs when bacteria or other organisms that live in water take up residence inside your ear. The warm, moist environment is entirely to their liking, and sometimes they’ll thrive, causing a painful infection. Incidentally, you don’t have to swim to get swimmer’s ear. Anything that causes the insides of the ears to get moist – taking a shower, wearing a hearing aid, or even having too much earwax can make it easy for the organisms to flourish.

Causes of Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation of the external ear canal. The result may be itching, pain or temporary hearing loss. After swimming or showering you may notice your hearing is fuzzy, which indicates water in the ear. There may also be an infection in the outer ear, too, that appears later. Swimming is not the only cause, however — the condition can be caused by scratching the ear or an object stuck in it. Trying to clean wax from the ear canal, especially with cotton swabs or small objects, can irritate or damage the skin.Swimmer’s ear is occasionally associated with middle ear infection (otitis media) or upper respiratory infections such as colds. Moisture in the ear predisposes the ear to infection from fungus or water-loving bacteria such as Pseudomonas.Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear infectionThe most common symptoms of swimmer’s ear are mild to moderate pain that is aggravated by tugging on the auricle and an itchy ear. Other symptoms may include any of the following :-

  • Drainage from the ear — yellow, yellow-green, pus-like, or foul smelling.
  • Decreased hearing.
  • Ear discharge.
  • Fever.
  • Sensation that the ear is blocked.
  • Ear pain.

Home Remedies for the treatment of Swimmer Ear Infection

Some of the common home remedies to cure Swimmer Ear Infection

  1. Start with a kitchen cure. Research has shown that garlic can kill a variety of germs, including those that can cause swimmer’s ear. When your ears start aching, squeeze a clove of garlic into a little bit of olive oil and apply a few drops to your ears. There’s a good chance this will kill the germs before they have time to cause a full-blown infection. This the best remedy to cure Swimmer’s Ear.
  2. Hair dryer. Use the warm (never hot!) setting of your hair dryer and place it about an arm’s length from the ear and slowly move it back and forth. Test it on your wrist after it has been running a while before using it on the ear. The warm air will evaporate any trapped water.
  3. Add some vinegar. Another way to help kill germs in the ear is with a few drops of white vinegar mixed half-and-half with rubbing alcohol. Put the drops in your ears, then tilt your head to let the fluid run out. This ran be very helpful, but the rubbing alcohol may be painful if your ears are irritated. An alternative is to mix the vinegar with a few drops of water.
  4. Alcohol, rubbing. Rubbing alcohol not only kills germs but causes water trapped in the ear to evaporate. See the remedies below under vinegar.


  • Dry the ear thoroughly after exposure to moisture.
  • Before using any drops in the ear, it is important to verify that you do not have a perforated eardrum.
  • Use earplugs when swimming.
  • The safest way to dry your ears is with a hair dryer. If you do not have a perforated eardrum, rubbing alcohol or a 50:50 mixture of alcohol and vinegar used as eardrops will evaporate excess water and keep your ears dry.

Useful References

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