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As the weather continues to heat up more people are headed to the pool, ocean, rivers or lakes to find cool relief. The more time spent in water and doing water-related activities the higher ones chances are for contracting swimmer’s ear or over prolonged periods of time surfer’s ear. People who are traveling to escape the heat are also at risk for having ear problems due to the constant air pressure change associated with the rise and decent of airplanes.

Alvarado Hospital’s ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Michael O’Leary provides tips on how to keep your ears safe and out of the doctor's office this summer.

"Swimmer’s ear happens when bacteria grows in the out of the ear canal due to excess water getting trapped in the canal," said Dr. O'Leary. "A lot of swimming can wash away wax, which acts as protection and may lead to infection in the ear canal. As bacteria grow in the ear canal, the canal becomes red and swollen, which may require antibiotics to heal."

Surfer’s ear is the build of boney lesions caused by surfing in cold water, which is a condition that may lead to surgery to correct.

Tips to Keep your Ears Safe this Summer

To keep your ears healthy this summer, Dr. O'Leary offers the following safety tips:

  • Apply sunscreen to the exterior of your ears
  • After swimming, rinse ears out with bottled water
  • Clean ears with soap and water, don’t use Q-tips
  • Don’t rinse ears with peroxide or other solutions
  • Surfers see a physician at least once to look for a narrowing ear canal
  • Surf with appropriate ear plugs to avoid ear infection