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How To Prevent Swimmer’s Ear?

About Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an aural condition, which commonly occurs when bacteria or fungus infested water enters the ear when swimming. Swimmer’s ear triggers redness, itchiness and swelling in the ear canal, extreme ear pain and even drainage of fluid from the ear. Swimmer’s ear is generally treated with a course of antibiotic ear drops. Some home remedies also prove useful in eliminating the infection of Swimmer’s ear and preventing its growth. Want to know how to prevent swimmer’s ear? Read on for the best preventive measures for this annoying ear problem.

How To Prevent Swimmer's Ear?

How can Swimmer’s Ear be Prevented?

Germs that grow and thrive in moist environment are responsible for swimmer’s ear. So the best way of inhibiting the growth of these germs is to keep the ears dry and clean, and not let the contaminated water from the swimming pool sit in the ears for long durations. This common, painful ear problem can be prevented by following certain simple measures like:

Keep The Ears Dry And Clean, Especially After Swimming

Each ear canal should be dried thoroughly after bathing or swimming. The head should be first tipped to one side and then the other to let out all of the water present in the ears. This process should be repeated on the other side too. In the need arises, one can also carefully use a hair dryer, set on its lowest temperature, to dry the ear canal completely and thus prevent swimmer’s ear. The doctors also recommend putting a few drops of rubbing alcohol in the ears after a dip in the pool to dry out the ear, especially for individuals already suffering from the problem of swimmer’s ear. But it should always be remembered that excessive use of this method can cause the skin inside the ear canal to get chapped and thus make it more prone to infections.

Wearing Ear Plugs While Swimming

While bathing or swimming, people are advised to wear ear plugs that help to keep water out of the ears and thus prevent swimmer’s ear. Pliable ear plugs are easily available in medical stores and at the doctor’s clinic. When purchasing these ear plugs, the individual must only pick the one that best fits into their ears.

Always Maintaining Proper Ear Wax Hygiene

Cerumen, commonly called ear wax, plays a vital role in keeping ear infections at bay. Presence of excess or very less ear wax can cause ear problems. Using improper ways of cleaning the ear like ear candling, can damage the ear canal and increase the risk of developing ear infections including swimmer’s ear. Further, ear wax also repels water and thus is helpful in preventing swimmer’s ear effectively.

Consider The Use Of Natural Ear Drops

Certain ear drops are available which help to prevent swimmer’s ear. However, ones who suspect themselves of having a ruptured ear drum must not use these drops and should seek immediate medical help. Individuals who have synthetic ear tubes or have undergone a recent ear surgery must also not use such ear drops. These people should instead try using a drop or two of rubbing alcohol, olive oil, white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in their ears to prevent swimmer’s ear. These are natural and safe eardrops, which effectively help in keeping swimmer’s ear away.

Taking Good Care Of The Skin

The health of the skin in the internal area of the ear canal plays a crucial role in preventing swimmer’s ear. Dry, cracked or impaired skin can quickly contract ear infections. Individuals suffering from conditions like allergies, eczema or seborrhoea are more likely to contract swimmer’s ear. Ones with these dermal problems must seek immediate medical help to prevent swimmer’s ear. Others, who are not suffering from any of these skin conditions, can develop dry, itchy ears with flaky skin. These problems can be kept in check just by:

  • Avoiding vigorous cleaning of the ear. In case of excessive ear wax, the individual is advised to get it cleaned professionally by a medical expert.
  • Keeping the ears dry.
  • Avoiding cutting or scratching the ears.
  • Avoiding the insertion of any foreign object like a Q-tip or finger nail in the ears as these can potentially damage the skin inside the ears.
  • Keeping hairsprays and other irritating chemicals away from the ears.
  • Putting a drop of vegetable oil or olive oil in each ear, everyday, to ensure proper lubrication of the ear canal and nourishment of the dry skin.


By using the above mentioned tips, not only can one prevent swimmer’s ear, but can also treat mild ear infection effectively. People who have had swimmer’s ear in the past are more likely to develop it again. Thus, these individuals must practice good ear hygiene, more diligently when they swim.


  1. “Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)” – Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/swimmers-ear/symptoms-causes/syc-20351682)
  2. “Swimmer’s Ear: Prevention Tips” – WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/ear-infection-prevention-swimmers-ear)
  3. “Swimmer’s Ear: Prevention and Treatment” – American Academy of Otolaryngology (https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/swimmers-ear-prevention-and-treatment/)
  4. “How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi/ear-infections-prevention.html)
  5. “Swimmer’s Ear: Tips for Prevention” – Healthline (https://www.healthline.com/health/swimmers-ear-prevention-tips)

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 7, 2023

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