swimmer's ear (otitis externa)

(any tips for prevention)

13 messages
26/08/2005 at 18:15

Having just had a week of no training at all (boo hoo), severe pain, limited hearing, plus won't be able to swim for a while longer, I wondered if any of you have also suffered with this and have any tips for preventing it in the future.

(never realised how painful or debilitating an ear infection would be).

I'd been swimming abroad in open water when I picked this up - and I usually only swim in the pool in the UK , which might explain how I got this, but apart from the infection I love swimming in open water and want to do more.

Thanks for any suggestions

26/08/2005 at 18:35
I've recently had problems with bungged up ears. So had limited hearing in one ear (the side that i breath on) and it ached a bit. I was told to put warm olive oil in my ear (head on side) and leave it for 20-30 mins then let it drip out, without sticking cotton wool in. it seems to have worked.
Don't know if this is similar or will work.

good luck
26/08/2005 at 18:37
muddy, cheers for that, I have a blocked up feeling ear, had a vague memory regarding olive oil but wasn't sure

will try that
26/08/2005 at 18:48
I always remember it as warm almond oil, but used as above.
26/08/2005 at 18:59
try Salclear e drops, www.salclear.com its a product designed to prevent 'swimmers ear'.

This basically occurs when water becomes trapped in the outer ear. The warm wet environment encourages bacterial and fungal growth hence infection.

Clean your ears before a swim with e drops, and dewater them afterwards and this should prevent the problem.

We sell a lot into the scuba market.
26/08/2005 at 19:03
Thanks for all your replies.

With the olive oil did you have to do that just once, or repeat regularly?

The infection is mostly gone now but I know my ear is still partly blocked

27/08/2005 at 08:09
Julsz, as a chemist I'd suggest that any sort of oil will help clear out wax from your ear. Try for example olive oil as you have, or baby oil/white oil which can be bought from the chemists for next to nothing.

Its not the wax which is causing your infection, its trapped water which encourages bacterial growth.

Keeping your ears clean will limit the amount of wax build up which will therefore prevent water getting trapped in your outer ear.

Use a dedicated product like e drops before and after a swim, or dip a cotton bud in white/baby oil and clean the ear before and after, and you should be ok.

Once infection has caught cleaning with oils wont help. e drops contains alcohol, and this is the main disinfectant used for all parts of the body now in nearly every hospital esp. because of superbugs spreading.
30/08/2005 at 09:46
I think i was supposed to use the olive oil twice a day, but i oly did it in the evening, but every day till my hearing came back. Just did it while i was reading before going to sleep.
Its not very nice but it does appear to do the job
30/08/2005 at 10:02

send me your contact details on antimist@salclear.com and I will send you a free bottle of Salclear e drops.

It sounds like wax is the recurring cause, so your ears should be clean before you go into the water as well as when you come out.
30/08/2005 at 13:19
Hi Dave

Yes, I know that oil won't treat an infection!

but its more or less gone now so I was thinking about preventing recurrence. Thanks
26/09/2005 at 20:41
Hi Julsz,

Only just seen your post. I have had ear infections in the past, but since using silicone ear-plugs have (touch wood) not suffered any recurrence. You can get them from Aquasphere, see their website - www.aquasphereuk.co.uk, for a few squid.

WildWill    pirate
27/09/2005 at 08:06
i wear ear plugs
27/09/2005 at 11:14
Thanks again guys - I'm about to go swimming again tomorrow (for the first time in 8 weeks) so touch wood I'll be ok. I'll get the earplugs though.

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