For those of you who’ve experienced the frustration of not being able to hear properly, or the feeling of imbalance caused by swimmers ear, will understand this affliction and its effects. As a swimming coach I’ve seen just about every remedy there is, from the swimmer who gets out of the pool and does the up and down ear clearing jump to the ear plugged (now) deaf athlete.
My own experience has caused me to look deeper into this problem, its causes and most importantly some solutions! The definition of Swimmers Ear: “Affecting the outer ear, swimmers ear (also called acute otitis externa) is a painful condition resulting from inflammation, irritation, or infection. These symptoms often occur after water gets trapped in your ear, with subsequent spread of bacteria or fungal organisms. Because this condition commonly affects swimmers, it is known as swimmers ear.” – (MD Website)
I went to my GP recently and she took one look in my ears and said, “I’ll just see if I can remove the wax”. The build up had been caused by return to swimming (rather than being on pool deck all the time). It took her 5 minutes to remove the wax and let me tell you, the relief was phenominal. I could hear, in fact I could hear so well there was a ringing in my ear as I spoke. For the future she suggested a “swimmers ear” product or a wonderfully inexpensive alternative.
Hydrogen Peroxide at 3% is about $5 per 250ml bottle. You need about 2-3 drops in each ear 2-3 times per week. There is one thing to always remember when using hydrogen peroxide, it bleaches clothing, so I suggest you put the drops in your ears after swimming and before you shower so that any ear leakage comes out in the shower and not on your clothes.
I’d love to hear from other swimmers including ocean swimmers about other solutions.
Feel free to come along to a free swimming squad session to try out Sydney Swimmers. Send an email here or ring on 0431 571 161.