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What can you do to protect your ears and prevent swimmer's ear?

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Tips on protecting your ears:

  • Don't stick stuff in your ear. Never put cotton swabs, hairpins, pen caps, pencils, your finger, tissues, or anything else into your ear canal. It not only damages your skin, but bits of cotton or tissue can get stuck and break down in your ear, raising the chances of an infection.
  • Leave earwax alone. Earwax plays an important role in protecting your ears. So when you try to pry it out, you raise your odds of getting swimmer's ear. What's more, you're also probably pushing wax farther into your ear. If you think you really do have too much earwax, talk to your doctor about safe ways to treat the problem.
  • Take off your headphones. Headphones -- especially ones you stick into your ear canal, like earbuds -- can sometimes scratch the skin, leading to infections.
  • Keep hearing aids clean. Just like earbuds, hearing aids can rub against the ear canal and lead to swimmer's ear. To lower your risk, make sure to take out your hearing aid each night to clean it regularly.
  • Put cotton balls in your ears before using hair spray, dye, or other products. Some people get swimmer's ear from chemicals in cosmetics, which irritate the skin.

From: How Can I Prevent Swimmer's Ear? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Massachusetts Eye and Ear: "Swimmer's Ear: How to Avoid this Common Problem."

Mayo Clinic: "Swimmer's Ear."

UpToDate: "External Otitis (Including Swimmer's Ear) (Beyond the Basics)," "External Otitis: Pathogenesis, Clinical Features, and Diagnosis."

American Academy of Otolaryngology: "Swimmer's Ear."

CDC: "Facts About 'Swimmer's Ear."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on April 2, 2019

SOURCES:

Massachusetts Eye and Ear: "Swimmer's Ear: How to Avoid this Common Problem."

Mayo Clinic: "Swimmer's Ear."

UpToDate: "External Otitis (Including Swimmer's Ear) (Beyond the Basics)," "External Otitis: Pathogenesis, Clinical Features, and Diagnosis."

American Academy of Otolaryngology: "Swimmer's Ear."

CDC: "Facts About 'Swimmer's Ear."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on April 2, 2019

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