WHAT IS SWIMMER’S EAR?
Swimmer’s ear (in medical terms also known as otitis externa) is a painful condition where the skin in the ear canal becomes infected. Swimmer’s ear commonly occurs when water gets stuck in the outer ear canal. It is a common condition among swimmers and water active people, such as surfers. Anyone can be exposed to Swimmer’s ear, even those who are not fully immersed in water. Even having a drop of water in your ear canal can be a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to cause inflammation, irritation, and Swimmer's ear. The reason for this is when water gets stuck in the ear, bacteria that normally sits in the ear canal can get pushed beneath the surface of the skin.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms of Swimmer’s ear can include pain, redness and swelling of the ear canal or an itchy feeling inside of the ear. Pain when tugging the earlobe, or when chewing food, is also a common symptom. It is said that some patients report temporary hearing loss or their ears feeling “full.”
WHAT IS SURFER'S EAR AND WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWIMMER’S EAR AND SURFER’S EAR?
Surfer’s ear (in medical terms known as exostoses) is an abnormal bone growth that occurs in the ear canal due to repeated exposure to cold water and wind. Surfer's ear is very common among surfers, hence the name. But it is just as common in open ocean swimmers, especially those swimming in colder and windier conditions. It can lead to increased infection, hearing loss and painful surgery!
Swimmer's ear is different to Surfer's ear as it is an infection that can heal with antibiotics and time. Surfer's ear once formed can not heal and needs to be surgically removed when it becomes severe.
In the video below, renowned ENT specialist Dr. Hetzler explains that some people can even get an overlap of both Swimmer’s and Surfer’s ear at the same time. Dr. Hetzler also touches on a phenomenon that when people are in warmer waters, or on vacation, they tend to spend more time in the water, thus leading to a greater risk of being infected with ‘Swimmer’s ear’.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWIMMER’S EAR AND A CHILDHOOD EAR INFECTION?
Swimmer’s ear and a childhood middle ear infection are not the same condition. If you can wiggle your child’s outer ear without pain or discomfort than the ear condition is probably not swimmer’s ear. It is important to note that young children are often highly exposed to both conditions. It is best to consult with a doctor.
Studies show that at least 10 percent of the population will have at least one case of ‘Swimmer’s ear’ during their lifetime. This is even more shocking considering over 50% of people in the world don't swim and many people only swim a few times a year. If you are swimming regularly, there is a good chance you have had Swimmer's ear multiple times.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
If you have symptoms, questions or concerns, it is best to consult with your doctor. Swimmer’s ear is usually treated with ear drops and cured within 7-10 days.
As a preventive measure, wearing earplugs and keeping your ears dry and clean is the key to not getting ‘Swimmer’s ear’ and Surfer's Ear. Also, keeping objects out of the ear, for example, cotton swabs, will help prevent infections.
SWIMEARS VS OTHER EAR PLUGS
Wearing ear plugs and other types of ear protection whilst swimming typically blocks out sound, making it hard to communicate, listen to instructions and hear potential dangers whilst in the water. SwimEars have solved this particular issue through a holistic design, including an acoustic mesh that allows sound to come through but not water, keeping your ear canals dry and healthy, whilst letting you hear.
On top of this SwimEars comes with changeable parts that allow you to customise them to your ears for a better fit, optimising comfort and security. Although SwimEars are generally secure in your ears, there is also an optional leash that goes around your neck, which reduces the risk of misplacing and losing them. No more losing and changing your plugs every few months with SwimEars.