Have you heard of Swimmer's ear (Otitis Externa)? Otitis externa is an ear infection caused by overwhelming exposure to water. Your natural earwax gets washed away during your swim. Then your ears get too moist from the water creating a perfect environment for bacterial growth.
The outer ear canal then gets infected. This infection is often in between the eardrum or outside the ear. In worst cases, the infection causes total blockage in your ear canal, causing mild hearing loss and severe pain.
What is Swimming Earplugs
A swimming earplug is a simple device, usually made from silicone, that is inserted in one’s ear canal for protection. It protects the swimmer’s ear from any foreign objects entering the ear and helps prevent pressure build-up. This way, infection, hearing loss, and tinnitus are prevented by a great deal.
Avoiding Swimmer's ear
Now that you understand how constant exposure to swimming can cause hearing loss and infection, it's time to address this concern and find a solution. It's better not to get ill, so you can stay healthy and in the pool. But for an open-water swimmer, staying safe is essential. Be on the lookout for information on high bacteria counts in your local lakes or rivers.
You can avoid the Swimmer's ear by maintaining your ears dry in the usual ways. Tip your head in both directions after a swim to drain out any trapped water. Dry your outer ear with a towel or cool dryer.
Swimming Earplugs are your best choice
There are several ways to keep your ears dry if you are constantly in the water. Like many other swim training tools, disposable swim earplugs are relatively affordable. There's not much choice in the market, implying you won't be overwhelmed by different options.
If you think that your ears are always in trouble when swimming, it's time to consider consulting an audiologist for a custom fit. Custom-fit earplugs are slightly more expensive but highly effective and last longer, so we advise weighing your scales first.
Any physical training has risks when executed regularly, and swimming is no exception. If you're getting any signs of injury to your ears or are merely curious about guarding yourself against long-term exposure, earplugs for swimming could help protect your ear from infection.
What to look out for when using an earplug
Be aware that using swimming earplugs may make you less conscious of others around you. You can be less responsive since you can't hear everything around you. You might also find it more challenging to hear your coaches' instructions. But your ears are constantly exposed if you are regularly a water lover. Using earplugs will be the noticeable solution if you notice extra irritation from the long swimming exposure time.
Earplugs are small and sometimes fall out of your ears while using them. Select some earplugs with bright shades so you can easily find them when they end up at the bottom of the pool.
Make sure to wash them using warm, soapy water to stop any chlorinated or bacteria-laden water from getting trapped on the earplug.
Using earplugs for swimming is inexpensive and it can avoid visits to the doctor’s. At The Listening Lab, we provide options of swimmer earplugs that will help keep you safe in the water. Find a hearing centre near you and ask for an earplug recommendation.