Do you need some tips to keep your ears clean this summer?
As the weather begins to warm up, it’s likely that you may be spending more time in the water. Whether in a pool, the ocean, swimming laps in your backyard, snorkelling along a reef, or catching some waves at one of the many spectacular beaches Australia has to offer, there’s nothing better than a beautiful day and having some fun in the water.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides of spending all this time in the water is the effect it can have on your ears. Anyone who has had swimmer’s ear can vouch for how painful and frustrating it can be. Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an ear infection that occurs in the outer ear canal and is caused by bacteria that is prone to breeding when moisture is trapped in the ear.
Water can also cause your earwax to expand and completely block your ears. Ear wax build-up also increases the likelihood that water will become trapped in your ears, as the earwax forms a barrier that prevents the water from getting out. This can consequently increase your risk of getting swimmer’s ear.
Here are our top tips to keep your ears clean this summer.
1. Stay Away from Cotton Buds
No matter what time of year, putting cotton buds or anything into the ear canal can be dangerous but may also make a blocked ear worse. If you’re trying to unblock any water that is caught in your ears, you’ll likely exacerbate the problem by using cotton buds as you may push the wax further into your ear canal.
Furthermore, using cotton buds to clean your ears can increase your risk of getting swimmer’s ear. This is because the ear wax protects your ears from bacteria and by removing this earwax, you are disrupting the natural self-cleaning processes of your ears.
For more information, take a look at our blog post on the best ear wax removal tools.
2. Use Swimming Ear Plugs
Even though swimmer’s ear isn’t actually caused by water but by bacteria, water can certainly increase the production of bacteria. The moisture left in your ears after spending time in the water, as well as the warmth of Summer, makes your ears the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
One way you can prevent this bacterial growth is by keeping your ears dry by using swimming ear plugs. In general, regular ear plugs can prevent the natural ear cleaning process by blocking the exit for wax and debris, causing the earwax to build up and impact. However, this generally only occurs because of the long length of time people wear regular ear plugs for. Swimming ear plugs, on the other hand, are generally only worn for short periods of time and can be helpful for people who are prone to getting water trapped behind wax build up.
3.Use a Hairdryer to Dry Your Ears After Swimming
Similar to using swimming ear plugs, using a hairdryer on low heat can help to keep your ears dry and prevent bacteria breeding. This method is particularly good for people with narrow or bendy ear canals.
To do this, pull the ear back to straighten the ear canal and then apply low heat for about two to three minutes. Just ensure that the heat and strength of the hairdryer is on low to avoid accidentally hurting yourself or others.
4. Use Ear Wax Softening Drops
If you have a partial blockage from impacted earwax, water may have become trapped – which is not only frustrating but can even be debilitating. One safe at-home method of removal is ear wax softening drops. These drops help to loosen, soften and remove earwax. However, if the wax is extremely impacted, they may not completely remove the blockage, meaning that wax will quickly build up again. Nonetheless, ear wax softening drops can be a great way of providing momentary relief.
It should also be noted, that wax softening drops are not suitable for everyone. For example, those with perforated eardrums or people who have undergone ear surgery may not be able to use them. It is recommended that you consult with your doctor before using earwax softening drops.
5. Visit Earworx
If you’re experiencing excessive ear wax production this Summer, book an appointment with Earworx.
Through gentle micro-suction and curettage techniques, we carefully and safely remove wax build up. As well as providing the relief of removing a blocked ear, this will also help to prevent swimmer’s ear as it may help to reduce the moisture retained in your ear canal.