The ears secrete a natural protective layer of ear wax that lines the ear canal. Repeated and prolonged exposure to water, especially when water becomes trapped, can deplete this layer.
Without this protective layer of wax, water can easily remain in the ear causing irritation, with resultant pain and swelling. This painful inflammation can become infected with bacteria and fungi known as swimmer’s ear.
Trapped water is one of the causes of outer ear infections.
– Dr. Patrick H Allwright and Dr. Peter Tunguy-Desmarais, ENT Surgeons
This infection, (otitis externa), can be common in children or anyone with repeated water exposure.
Water trapped in the ear canal from swimming, diving or simply showering is a primary cause of this condition. So yes, even the cleanest water, if retained in the ear, can cause ear problems.
Swimmers ear symptoms
Symptoms include pain, itching, dulled hearing and ear discharge.
How to treat swimmers ear
Infections require topical antibiotic or anti-fungal treatment initially. Oral antibiotics may occasionally need to be prescribed.
How to prevent swimmers ear
Many swimmers ear products are designed to prevent symptoms.
The most notable alternative to these is SwimSeal, a non-alcohol containing ear drop that has been shown to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. SwimSeal ear drops are unique in providing a safe waterproof barrier in the ear
canal. This protection prevents the painful and harmful effects of swimmer’s ear.
Applied before exposure to water, 2-3 drops of SwimSeal protective ear drops take on some of the properties of natural ear wax. It forms a waterproof coating on the external ear canal that expels water from the ear. If required more drops can be applied after 2-3 hours — there is no build up over time and it leaves the ear naturally.
Related article: Seal your ears for pain free open water swimming
Disclaimer: SwimSeal has been an advertiser on oceanfit.com.au.