Ear pain is never okay, whether it’s a case of swimmer’s ear or an ear infection. Telling the difference, in the beginning, can be tricky. If your child is in the school swimming team or you’re up for water polo or the synchronized swimming championships, a case of, or propensity toward swimmer’s ear does not mean you have to cancel your aquatic dreams. Here’s what you need to know.
Swimmer’s ear is medically described as otitis externa - referencing a root cause of water from an external source that becomes trapped in the ear canal, possibly becoming infected.
Ear infections are called otitis media - is caused by internal inflammation of the middle ear, the Eustachian tube to be precise, which gets blocked or becomes swollen often due to a cold or an allergy but it is internal, naturally-occurring water that becomes trapped behind the eardrum.
Interestingly, someone with swimmer’s ear might experience more pain than someone with a middle ear infection. The reason for that is because swimmer’s ear is pretty much ‘out there’, easy to touch and identify the pain and there may be more itchiness. Those with middle ear infection report ‘deeper’ pain and hearing loss is common - it being right onto the eardrum, of course.
Susceptibility to Swimmer’s Ear
Not every one that spends a lot of time in the water gets swimmer’s ear. Susceptibility has much to do with individual ear anatomy - narrowness of the ear canal or tendency to produce a lot of ear wax, for example.
If one has susceptibility to swimmers ear, wearing earplugs when swimming starts to make a lot of sense. It truly stubborn and repetitive cases and you’re on the swimming team for a gala or the Olympics, bespoke earplugs for your specific ear canal shape is a sensible thing to do. A visit to your ENT specialist can get that ball rolling.
Treatment for Swimmer’s Ear
Generally regarded as a mild condition, swimmer’s ear is more easily treated with home remedies or over-the-counter ear drops. To prevent infection setting in using Supersalve’s organically formulated ear and nose drops will do just the trick.