The Swimmer's Ear Bible - How To Recognize Symptoms, Avoid Infection and Swim Pain Free!

by Pool Builders on 09-27-2010 in Articles


Swimmer's Ear known as acute external otitis or external otitis is a common among swimmers and those who participate in other water sports. The condition is an infection of the thin skin lining of the ear canal usually by gram-negative bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Water can become trapped in the ear canal while swimming. This water quickly becomes a desirable breeding ground for the bacteria. Impediments in the ear canal including wax, cysts and bony growths increase the likelihood for water to be trapped in the ear. The infection can affect one or both ears simultaneously. Swimmer's ear is usually easily treated. Treating swimmer's ear promptly usually clears the infection and can limit the development of more-serious complications.


It is important to remember that swimmer's ear is an infection. The symptoms commonly begin mildly, but the left untreated the infection will spread and can cause serious consequences.

Mild infection

  1. Mild discomfort
  2. Slight redness of skin in ear canal
  3. Itching in ear canal
  4. Some drainage of odorless fluid

Moderate infection

  1. Pain that worsens on moving your outer ear
  2. Intense pain when pushing on the bump in front of your ear
  3. Redness of skin Excessive fluid drainage of pus
  4. Feeling of fullness in your ear
  5. Decreased or muffled hearing

Severe infection

  1. Severe pain
  2. Redness or swelling of outer ear
  3. Swelling in your ear or lymph nodes in your neck
  4. Scaly or flaking skin of outer ear


Any signs or symptoms of Swimmer's Ear no matter how mild warrant an immediate trip to a medical professional. With severe pain or fever seek medical attention immediately. Treatment at a clinic or hospital may involve creating an acidic environment within the ear with ear drops. Gram-negative bacteria cannot thrive in acidic environments. If an inflammatory response is detected antibiotics will most likely be prescribed.


Stay Dry

Thoroughly dry outer ears with a soft towel after each swim or shower. Tip your head to the side to drain water from the ear canal.

Dry your ears with a blow-dryer if you put it on the It is also safe to dry ears with a hair dryer on the lowest setting holding the dryer one foot away.

Natural Remedy

Be sure your eardrum is not damaged before you begin using this remedy. A simple mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part white vinegar has been shown to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that cause infection. Put 1 teaspoon of the remedy into each ear and let it drain out.

Swim Clean

Do not swim in polluted water. A lake is likely to have a higher concentration of bacteria than a well-maintained pool.

Do Not Insert

Do not insert anything into your ear canal to remove wax such as a cotton swab, paper clip or hairpin. Remove wax if necessary with a wax removal kit.


Wear earplugs when swimming.

Avoid chemicals, like hair products, that irritate your ears, or put cotton balls in your ears when applying these products.

Protect your ears from the cold by wearing the appropriate cold weather gear.

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