Summer is fast approaching and the weather is warming up. As summer comes into full swing, and COVID-19 era restrictions loosen, swimming pools are becoming a popular destination once more. Traditionally a summertime favorite, swimming pools are many people’s ideal way to relax, unwind, exercise, and socialize. Here in Central California, hanging out in and around the swimming pool is always a favorite summer activity! At Beltone’s Central California Hearing Centers, we think it’s important to remind our clients that swimming pools, and swimming in general, can have implications for your hearing and your hearing health. If you are headed to the pool this summer, here are a few things to remember:

If you go swimming often, you are probably aware that your ears and your hearing can become impacted by spending long lengths of time in the water. The ear condition otitis externa, commonly known as “swimmer’s ear,” occurs when the tube between the outer ear and the eardrum becomes inflamed. This condition occurs when your ears are subjected to a bacteria found in lakes, oceans, rivers and swimming pools that aren’t treated properly with chemicals. In extreme circumstances, it can even happen in the shower! Most frequently, though, swimmer’s ear is experienced when an individual swims for long periods of time in swimming pools or other bodies of water. 

The condition known as “swimmer’s ear” may go away on its own, untreated, without causing any damage. Other times, however, it can cause severe pain and uncomfortable itchiness. Swimmer’s ear can even lead to a degree of temporary hearing loss. If you experience swimmer’s ear, the best thing you can do is simply avoid swimming and immersing your ears in water until the condition has resolved itself. In mild cases, swimmer’s ear can clear up in about 7 – 14 days. If, however, you are in pain or are extremely uncomfortable, you may choose to seek quicker relief by trying an over-the-counter ear drop remedy. Ear drops may work to soothe the pain, and usually clear the condition in about a week. In serious cases, it may be necessary to visit your doctor, as swimmer’s ear can cause an infection which can lead to blockage in your ear. If you have persistent itching, pain that increases when you tug on the outer ear, a feeling of blockage in your ear, or drainage or pus coming from your ear, it is critical that you seek immediate professional medical attention. 

The best way to escape the pain and inconvenience of swimmer’s ear is to avoid it in the first place! Here are few tips to help you protect your ears and your hearing during the summertime swim season:

  • Only use swimming pools you know are properly chlorinated to avoid infection
  • Wear earplugs or use a swimming cap to cover your ears when swimming
  • Always clean and dry your ears out properly after swimming
  • If you get water in your ear, try to remove immediately
  • DO NOT try to remove any water with ear Q-tips as you may force wax deeper into your ear blocking the water

At Beltone’s Central California Hearing Aid Centers, we are here to help you navigate the challenges of protecting your ears and your hearing health. If you have questions about how to avoid swimmer’s ear, or how to keep your ears healthy and clean after swimming, we can help. We also want our clients to remember, unless you opt for a completely waterproof hearing aid, you’ll need to remove your hearing aids before swimming in the water. Moisture damage is one of the major reasons hearing aids are brought in for repair, so please remember to remove them before jumping in the pool this summer. 

Our team of hearing health professionals is here for you when you need us! If you have experienced any pain or discomfort after swimming, please give us a call and we can schedule you for a FREE hearing screening. At Beltone, we truly care about our clients and helping you gain and maintain your optimal hearing health. Beltone Central California has six offices to serve you in our Central Valley region, Fresno, Hanford, Modesto, Oakhurst, Sonora, and Visalia, and we also offer remote appointments via a phone or video call. Call or come into your local Beltone Central California office today to find out how we can help you!