Swimming is a healthy and fun activity, but if you’re not careful, you could end up with potential hearing loss from exposure to water. Whether you prefer a dip in a pool, ocean or lake, here are some facts and tips on hearing care that you should know.
Water Carries Bacteria
Bacteria can be found in any natural body of water. While drying out the ears will help in keeping bacteria from burrowing into the ear canal, it can get caught in tiny creases or tears of the lining. Chlorinated water in pools may sound like a safe option for hearing care, but this is not 100% accurate. The chemicals used in swimming pools may remove most of the bacteria in the water, but these ingredients do not protect the type of bacteria that invades the ears.
Bacteria Causes Infection
Swimmer’s ear or otitis externa is a common infection that can occur from bacteria. Water can break through the protective wax coating inside the ear and allow bacteria to settle in cracks and creases. Some cases of swimmer’s ear can clear up on their own. Always dry ears when getting out of the water. You can also purchase over-the-counter ear drops that will aid in reducing moisture. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, the bacteria has likely caused an infection.
- Feeling like the ear is blocked
- Decreased hearing in one or two ears
- Pain around the ear and down the neck
- Yellow discharge from ear
- Redness in the ear canal
Precautions to Take
Hearing care is important and water exposure can increase the likelihood of hearing loss in the future. Take these steps to prevent infection and damage to your ears when swimming.
- Dry ears after getting out of the water with a towel.
- Drain water often from each ear by tilting your head from side to side.
- Never insert a foreign object in the ear in an attempt to open a blockage.
- Wear ear plugs or swimming cap and keep them dry and clean.
- Visit a physician at the first sign of infection.
Swimming can be a fun and healthy activity. However, losing a portion of your hearing can be a big inconvenience to your normal life. Take all of the precautions that you can in order to keep your ears healthy and in good working order. For more tips, contact Beltone DFW today.