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What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Have you ever felt a stuffy and plugged-up sensation in your ears after a swim? If yes, you might be experiencing muffled or decreased hearing as well. It may also be accompanied with itching or discomfort. This condition is commonly referred to as swimmer’s ear.

In medical parlance, swimmer’s ear is called otitis externa. This condition is a type of ear infection that affects the outer ear and the ear canal. Since the ear canal is a warm and narrow pathway, it is conducive to bacteria and fungi growth.

Swimmer’s ear is caused by fluid or moisture buildup in the ear canal. This usually happens when water enters the ears every time we shower or go for a swim. Ideally, the fluid or moisture will drain or dry out eventually. However, there are instances when the moisture or fluid is retained. The moist atmosphere becomes an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

Mild instances of swimmer’s ear heal easily and on their own. However, serious cases of swimmer’s ear may require medical attention as well as medication; oral and eardrop antibiotics are commonly prescribed. Most ear drops contain a mixture of germ-killing ingredients, acidic solutions to restore the acid balance in the ear canal and steroids to ease the swelling.

In severe cases where there is an increased blockage of the ear canal, a suction device may be used to remove fluids or other debris. This is done so that the medication can reach the inner portion of the ear.

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I´m 61 years old and lost my hearing gradually over many years. Because my hearing loss developed so slowly, I never realized it was happening. But my friends and family sure did. Because of them, I decided to get my hearing tested. Dr. Andrews keeps working with you until you are satisfied. That´s what I like. I haven´t heard this well in years. ~ R. McGreggor

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