Summer is almost here! It’s time for trips to the beach and sunny days spent in the pool. Swimming in the pool can be a lot of fun, but it what isn’t fun is swimmer’s ear.

Did you know that swimmer’s ear is actually an ear infection caused by bacteria breeding in the ear canal when there is trapped moisture? The best way to deal with Swimmer’s Ear is to avoid it altogether. Here are a few ways to do that.

Don’t let water get trapped in your ears! Since swimmer’s ear is a result of trapped moisture, if you keep your ears clean and dry there is no way for the bacteria to thrive. After water gets in your ears from swimming or another activity, thoroughly dry your ears. You can use towel to dry the outer ear canal, and a hair dryer on the cool setting can help you dry the unreachable parts. Some people use rubbing alcohol to dry out their ears, but frequent use of rubbing alcohol can actually cause more infection later on.

Use swimming ear plugs. To prevent moisture from entering your ears at all, use swimming ear plugs. They can be purchased online, at some retail outlets, or your audiologist’s office. The most important thing is that they fit your ears well, otherwise they may do more harm than good—and don’t use just any earplugs. They should be designed for swimming.  

Use over-the-counter ear drops. You may have used ear drops in the past to help remove unwanted water or moisture after swimming. Over-the-counter ear drops can be a great way to facilitate drying out the ear canal. Other effective things to use are white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, olive oil and hydrogen peroxide. Rubbing alcohol can cause excessive dryness with repeated use and hydrogen peroxide can kill good bacteria in your ear canal and, so use those sparingly.

If the reason for the moisture is that your ears are clogged with excessive earwax, ear drops will not be effective. Also, if you have a synthetic ear tubes or a ruptured ear drum never use ear drops.

Healthy skin creates a healthy ear environment. The best way to contribute to ear health and prevent infection in and around your ears is healthy skin. If the skin in your ears is dry or cracked, infection may result. For flaky dry skin in or around your ears, try these tips:

  • Don’t scratch or cut your ears
  • Keep your ears dry
  • Never use Q-tips or poke other objects in the ear.                   
  • Be gentle with cleaning. If you have excessive ear wax, see a doctor for cleaning.

You can minimize your risk of any infection (including Swimmer’s Ear) by remembering these preventative tips. Regular check-ups with your audiologist is important for maintaining ear health.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.


San Mateo

88 N. San Mateo Drive
San Mateo, California, 94401

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435

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