HearingLife's got tips from two of our top audiologists
Ah, the beach! There’s nothing more refreshing than playing in the ocean's waves on a hot summer day. Sometimes, however, when you’re swimming – at the beach, in a lake or river or even in a pool – you may get water in your ears.
Recently, we asked Campaign for Better Hearing’s chief audiologist, Dr. Leslie Soiles, for her tips for preventing swimmer’s ear. Here are her professional suggestions.
If you get water in your ear, try these tips:
- How do I handle waterlogged ears? First, I suggest that when you get out of the water, you gently dry your ears and the area around them with a soft towel (that isn’t sandy), so more water doesn’t enter your ears.
- Then, try this trick to remove water: Lean your head toward your shoulders and pull your earlobe down toward your shoulder. This will help the water run out of your ears. (Repeat on the other side, if needed.)
- A drop of hydrogen peroxide. This will also help kill bacteria. Don’t do this if you have had ear tubes or a ruptured eardrum.
Remember: Don’t try to dry your ears by using a cotton swab or sticking anything into your ear. Also, don’t “tap your head” to try to dislodge the water.
What is otitis externa – or swimmer’s ear
According to Dr. Soiles, swimmer’s ear is a common ear infection that occurs when bacteria grow in the inner ear canal. Of course, you can get “swimmer’s ear” without entering the water. The primary symptoms include pain in the inner ear, the feeling of your ears being clogged, and sometimes muffled hearing.
If you have think you have an ear infection, Dr. Soiles advises that you make an appointment to speak with a physician, as you may require an antibiotic to clear the infection.
Have hearing aids? Dr. Bozsik has advice for caring for your hearing aids this summer
Dr. Sara Bozsik, a University of Connecticut-trained audiologist and hearing care provider in New York, recently participated in a Facebook live stream. During her short talk, Dr. Bozsik spoke about summer’s challenges for people with hearing aids.
Hear her discuss protecting hearing aids from summer humidity and heat.
Hearing aids and water aren't a good mix. Her advice includes:
- Keep hearing aids away from direct sunlight
- Protect your hearing aids from the heat
- Don’t let your hearing aids get near sunscreen
- Always remove hearing aids before swimming, boating or being near the water if there is a chance you could get them wet.
This will help your hearing aids to function normally.
Take care of your hearing aids to help prevent infection
Heat and humidity help microbes grow, and make it easier for you to get an ear infection. If you wear hearing aids, make sure to wipe down the hearing aid and change the wax guards or domes more often during the summer. Dr. Bozsik also says, “Let your hearing aids air out. Open the battery door, take the battery out overnight. Let the hearing aid air out.”
Focus on your hearing with HearingLife
Whether you have hearing aids or not, if you have concerns about your hearing, the professionals at HearingLife would like to help. Find a hearing center near you for a complimentary hearing assessment* to get started.