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Sneaky Swimmer’s Ear – Ear Pain That Doesn’t go Away

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Listen up! This goes for all the water enthusiasts who are exposed to a cold environment like wind and water which are breaking points for our ears.

If you are exposed to that kind of conditions bare in mind that the ears are one of the things that are going to go.

What is Swimmer’s ear?


A sneaky condition that revolves over time. Among surfers is known as Surfer’s ear but commonly the world out there knows it as Swimmer’s ear (Otitis externa).

When the ears are on the breaking point and it is the last call for them, ENT professionals call it Exostosis. 

Exostosis is a bony growth in the external ear canal- far canal.

Why is it sneaky?

Because it happens over time. You don’t feel it until it’s time to change your ears. Almost literally to change them, because of the operation which includes lots of drilling and stitching.

Bone in the ear is growing-closing the hole. This is a natural way for the body to protect itself from the cold water. Slowly is growing together and water can enter, but can’t come out anymore. This is not painful, but when the water collects nasty bugs, bacterias and fungi the horrendous and very painful infection occurs. – Actually, it is an infection of an ear canal.

How to Treat Swimmer’s ear?

This infection will sadly not go away on its own. And as mentioned before the surgery will have to be scheduled. But if you do recognize it early (that is why the doctors’ visits are important) you can treat it with ear drops.

Treatment with Ear drops?

The treatment is with ear drops which include antibiotics. Antibiotics can be mixed with steroids which reduce swelling of an ear canal.

Drops are used for a week, several times per day.

In some cases, the doctor will first have to get rid of an earwax buildup. Usually, the ear irrigation with syringe is done. Afterward, the ear drops will work like a charm. You can also use different tools like the Wax RX (click here for more info and review), Elephant Ear Washer (click here for more info and a detailed review), Endoscope Ear Pick (click here for more info and a detailed review), Smart Swab ( click here for more info and a detailed review) or just check out our list of the most recommendable tools to use for ear cleaning.

Ain’t nothing better after a week of using ear drops?

If not, then you will get oral medicine.

Still not going away, what is happening?

This usually happens when a patient had already ear infection before. The drops will not help because bacteria in the ear got stronger and got used to the medicine. Also, don’t forget that there are more bacterias out there. That is why is so many ear drops on the market. Different bacteria- different ear drop.

While at home treat your ear pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Plus keep the water out of an ear during treatment.

Operation of Exostosis

The common technique is done in the surgical room with hopefully the surgeon that knows what he/she is doing is an incision behind the ear followed by drilling.

After the operation, you should not get in the contact with water for eight weeks, because of your “15 stitches” (depends on the size of your ears).

If you are unlucky- in usual cases the Surfer’s ear happens on both of the ears, but operation not. – The reason for this is that you still will hear something for those 8 weeks of rehabilitation.

One of the new techniques of operating Swimmer’s ear is done without incision, only with dentistry tools. The results of this operation are fantastic. We are looking forward to hearing more from it because the rehabilitation time is only a week. Go medicine!

Anyway, prevention is far better than rehabilitation!

Prevention of Swimmer’s ear

No matter what they told you, the best prevention is custom earplugs. You can get them at specialists in cool colors without ropes. They are specially designed for your ear canal and can not fall out.  The water cannot enter because the earplugs close the ear canal completely. The only downside is that they are worth around 80 Euros. But for sure ears are worth much more than this.

After a water session, you should dry out the ears completely. Gently dry them with a clean towel or use the hairdryer on minimum wind force. You can also buy in the pharmacy ear spray which contains alcohol- it will dry your ears.

If you do all of this you have nothing to worry about.

Who can get Swimmer’s ear?

Everyone exposed to a cold environment (wind and water). It is not true that only kids get it.

Also, the people who moisture their ear too much or irritate their ear canal with cotton swabs.

Actually many things can cause a middle ear infection. That is why keep your fingers cleaned or just don’t stick them in the ears.

Symptoms of the Swimmer’s ear?

Ear pain which is getting worse and worse and no drops can help it.

One of the biggest symptoms are itching and hard time chewing, because of the swollen ear canal. It feels like the ear is full.

On the outside ear looks red or even swollen. If it is truly bad the nasty discharge comes dripping out of an ear. First dropped in clear color, then turns cloudy and at the end in ugly yellowish pus color.

If the person is saying HUH?- a lot then you should consider taking a trip to your doctor.

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