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    You are here: Home > Pharmacy News | Health Articles/Tips > General > March 13, 2019

      Can swimming affect your hearing?

      Many of us enjoy swimming in the pool or at sea. Swimming by itself does not cause hearing loss but it can cause hearing problems later on in life if not properly managed.

      What is swimmer’s ear?

      Swimming can result in otitis externa or swimmer’s ear, a condition that is contracted when your ears are exposed to a bacterium that is lives in natural bodies of water like the ocean, lakes or rivers. This may also be contracted from pools that have not been properly treated with chlorine. In fact, it may even happen after a shower.

      Swimmer’s ear is essentially an infection in the outer ear canal that starts from the eardrum to the outside of the head. When treated early, all you would need are ear-drops. The initial mild stage would show up as itching in the ear canal and a slight redness inside the ear. There could be mild discomfort and discharge of a clear odorless fluid.

      If swimmer’s ear is left untreated, the itching, pain and redness will increase. There would be a lot of fluid and pus discharged along with a partial blockage of the ear canal. The quality of hearing would decrease and could feel muffled too. When it reaches a more advanced stage, it would lead to severe pain that may also affect the face, neck and side of the head. One would experience complete blockage of the ear canal accompanied by fever, redness and swelling of the outer ear. The lymph nodes would also swell.

      How to protect your ears

      • Check if the pool water is chlorinated and clean. Never swim in stagnant pools as they may contain dangerous bacteria.
      • In case, you use a waterproof music player and earphones, ensure they are clean and stored properly.
      • You can use earplugs or a swimming cap to ensure that less water goes into the ear. However, always maintain them in good condition and keep them clean.
      • You must clean and dry your ears well after swimming.
      • To drain any water out of your ears, tilt your head to the side.
      • Never attempt to open any blockages with an earbud, this can make things worse as wax will move deeper into the ear canal and may cause damage.
      • Seek medical help immediately in case you have severe ear pain or sudden partial hearing loss post swimming.



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