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Will Swimmer’s Ear Go Away by Itself?

What comes to mind when you hear the word Swimmer’s Ear? It is a condition in which your ears get affected due to continuous exposure to a damp environment. As a result, the ears get infected with bacteria causing redness, swelling, pain, muffled hearing, and swollen neck glands.

There is also discharge coming out from the involved ear. Having a narrow ear canal, earwax build-up, and unhygienic conditions increases the risk of developing this infection. Will Swimmer’s Ear Go Away by Itself? It may or may not! Want to know more? Let’s get started!

What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s ear is a painful infection of the outer ear canal which most commonly occurs in children and the swimmers. This condition is also known as the otitis externa. It occurs when the ear’s environment is damp. As a result, bacteria get the perfect space to grow in and cause infection. 

Since it is an infection, how is it different from other infections? Let’s see:

  • The pain caused by a swimmer’s ear effects is mostly in the outer ear and increases on touching the earlobe. On the other hand, the pain caused by other infections affects the inner ear and increases on lying in bed
  • In the swimmer’s ear, the skin changes are observed more significantly. These include a rash-like appearance, redness, and swelling of the outer ear
  • Swimmer’s ear most commonly occurs after swimming while middle ear infection is associated with upper respiratory tract infection

Self-care and Home Remedies to Treat Swimmer’s Ear

Management of Symptoms at Home

You can manage the symptoms of a swimmer’s ear at home by taking some precautionary measures. For instance, 

  • Keep Ears Clean and Dry: Exposing the ears to a moist environment can exacerbate the infection therefore avoid swimming or immediately dry the ears after swimming. Use a clean towel to gently dry the outer ear. You can also use a blow dryer at the lowest setting for this purpose
  • Use Warm Compresses: As the infection is associated with pain, redness, and swelling you can use warm compressions to relieve your ears from these symptoms
  • Protect Ears from External Irritants: When external irritants come in contact with the infected ear, the symptoms worsen.  protecTherefore,  your ears from these irritants as much as you can

Over-the-counter Ear Drops and Pain Relievers

You can also use over-the-counter medications to get relief from the pain and inflammation caused by swimmer’s ear. These include non-prescription painkillers like ibuprofen or Tylenol. They can help manage the discomfort you face due to swimmer’s ear.

On the other hand, over-the-counter ear drops give you relief from the pain and also help in drying the ear. These drops commonly include either alcohol or mild acetic acid that can speed up the drying process. Although the drops are safe to use in most cases, avoid using them if you have a perforated eardrum.

Ensure Proper Hygiene

Proper hygiene practices can not only help in treating the swimmer’s ear faster but also aid in preventing the infection. For this purpose, you can take the following steps:

  • Dry the ears as soon as you come out of the water with a clean washcloth. Also, make sure that you do not put the washcloth into your ears as it can cause injury
  • Do not insert your fingers especially if they are dirty into the ears. This increases the chances of bacterial contamination
  • In the swimmer’s ear, there is a foul-smelling discharge from the ears. So, clean the ears with a sterilized cloth when you notice any discharge

Keep a Check on Ear Health

Lastly, it is also essential to keep a check on your health. It is because regular checkups can help you diagnose an ear condition before worsening. You can get timely treatment and reduce the risk of hearing problems or eardrum damage. 

Difficult a visit a professional every other day? You can use our user-friendly Bebird Note 5 Pro kit. This versatile device not only helps in examining the ears at home but can also help in the removal of dried earwax chunks. Let’s explore its features:

  • It has a 10MP camera along with a built-in gyroscope that helps you achieve a high-quality stabilized view of the inside of the ear
  • The Bebird device can be easily connected to a mobile phone through wifi. Since the connection is wireless, you can comfortably use it
  • It is almost the size of a pen which means you can take it on your trips or keep it in your bag all the time
  • The LED lights make the ear canal more visible and this can be saved to show to a professional later 

Will Swimmer’s Ear Go Away on its Own?

This depends upon the severity of the swimmer’s ear. In mild cases, you can leave it untreated. The condition will resolve on its own within a few weeks or days as long as you are maintaining your hygiene. However, if the infection is severe, then you have to get a proper treatment otherwise the infection might spread to your brain or cranial nerves. So, should I not let my child go swimming? Well, swimming is not the only problem. It can occur in any damp environment so instead of stopping your child from enjoying their swim, do these:

Prevention Strategies to Avoid Swimmer’s Ear

  • Use Swimming Plugs: Swimming plugs are used for protecting the ears from the dirt in water. They also help in preventing the water from entering the ears. So use them every time you or your child go swimming
  • Do Not Swim in Dirty Water: Swimming in dirty water increases the chances of infection. Hence, make sure that the water you are swimming in is clean. Also, avoid swimming in crowded places because there are more chances that it is contaminated and can affect your health 
  • Do not Insert Cotton Buds to Clean the Ears: Using cotton buds to dry the ears or clean them is totally wrong. Cotton buds can push the wax towards the eardrum and will not help in drying the ears. Refrain from using any such objects. Just clean them with a cloth and tilt the head slightly to let all the water out after swimming


Swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria get a suitable moist environment in the ear for growth and replication. It can be painful and discomforting for the sufferer. But, it does not happen in every swimmer. You can prevent it from occurring by regularly cleaning the ears, drying them after every swimming session, and swimming in a clean pool only.

But, if you develop the infection even after taking all the precautions then it can be treated with warm compressions or OTC medications at a mild level. At a severe level, you will have to visit an ENT specialist to get it treated timely and prevent further problems.

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