In the summer, waterlogged children are at risk of getting swimmer’s ear, but there are easy ways to prevent it. The most reliable method is to stop children from submerging their heads under water altogether – but this isn’t always the most practical option.
Parents, here are three things you can do this summer to help protect your children from swimmer’s ear without restricting their water fun:
1.) Swim plugs
If your child has a history of recurring swimmer’s ear, using a swim plug will help protect water from entering your child’s ear canal. You can purchase generic, over-the-counter swim plugs at any drugstore, but as these are not custom to your child’s ear, water can sometimes get around them. If this becomes a problem, you can get a custom earmold made specifically for your child’s ear in order to create a tight fit. Contact an audiologist for more information on custom ear protection.
2.) Hair dryer
If water gets into the ear canal, do not insert any foreign objects such as Q-tips into the ear canal. Use a hair dryer on low heat and low speed. DO NOT hold the hair dryer against the ear. Instead, hold the hair dryer a safe distance – approximately a foot – away from the ear.
3.) Alcohol-vinegar mixture
After your child has gone swimming, you can use a mixture of equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar to help prevent swimmer’s ear. Administer a few drops of this mixed solution to one ear. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then repeat for the other ear. This mixture can cause irritation and should not be used if your child has had surgery, ear tubes, a draining ear, a hole in the eardrum or any other ear problems. Consult your physician before trying this method.
If your child has any signs or symptoms of swimmer’s ear please contact your doctor or reach out to Arizona Hearing Center by phone at 602.313.1243 or by email at [email protected]
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