Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmers ear, also known as otitis externa, is an outer ear infection that affects the ear canal and is normally bacterial or fungal in nature. It is usually caused by excessive water exposure but can also result from inserting things into your ears such as Q-tips.

What Causes Swimmer’s Ear?

The most common causes of swimmer’s ear are from water activities such as swimming, surfing, diving, and bathing. Water can become trapped once it enters the ear canal, especially when earwax is present. Cuts in the skin of the ear canal can also increase the risk, as will coming into contact with water that is polluted or contains excess bacteria. In addition to water, a person can contract swimmer’s ear from anything that damages the protective film of the ear canal such as cotton swabs or even your fingers.

What Are The Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear?

Itchiness and pain will most likely occur first. Swelling, redness, drainage of fluids, fever, temporary hearing loss and swollen lymph nodes could occur as well. Swimmer’s ear can lead to permanent hearing loss, chronic ear infections, and damage to the cartilage and bone if left untreated.


Put in ear plugs before you swim to keep water out of your ear canal. Do not swim in lakes or ponds with high levels of bacteria or dirty pools and spas. Shake or drain your ears after swimming to get rid of excess water. Dry your ears thoroughly. Do not stick objects into your ears.


Ear-drops are normally used to help fight the infection. Your doctor can give you prescription or use an at home remedy of vinegar and rubbing alcohol.