Debunking Myths About Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear refers to an infection of the ear canal with a discharge of green mucus, which can lead to complications such as dizziness and vertigo. It is a harmless condition that does not require any treatment or medication. This article discusses myths about this condition and debunks misconceptions with evidence from the medical field. For example, if you have water dripping into your ears while swimming, it is a sign that you have a cold rather than a swimmer’s ear.

Debunking Myths about Swimmer’s Ear.

1. Water Droplets Do Not Cause Swimmer’s Ear

This myth states that water droplets cause dry spots in the ear canal in the ear. It is much more common for water to accumulate inside the ear when it is dry outside. When you dive into a pool or jump into a lake, the water that comes up your nose will flood your nose and make it feel drier in your throat. Water accumulates in your ear canal when your body gets exposed to too much moisture in the air. When you shower, open the door to air-dry yourself after you finish. Do not shower right after swimming, because it can cause water to pool in your ears.

If you are aware of excessive moisture inside your ear canal due to frequent bathing or swimming, see a doctor immediately. The doctor will give you an antibiotic to reduce the amount of water building up in your ear. If the infection is not treated, it can cause dizziness or vertigo. It can also lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

2. A Cotton Ball Will Relieve Swimmer’s Ear

This myth states that you should plug your ears with cotton balls or insert earplugs to prevent water from entering your ears while swimming. This is false; cotton swabs will only make the matter worse. You can block water from entering your ear by plugging your ear canal. The plug will slide out when you sneeze or cough, however, so it is not long-lasting.

Swimmer's Ear (2)

3. The Medicine in Ear Drops Will Relieve Swimmer’s Ear

According to this myth, ear drops are made of antibiotics that effectively treat swimmer’s ears. Antibiotics are supposed to be used only for acute cases of swimmer’s ear. The medicine is primarily to be used at night to keep you from getting water in your ears. If you are using an antibiotic to treat a swimmer’s ear, make sure you use the full course of the medication. The infection can get worse if it is not treated promptly.

4. You Should Not Wear Earplugs to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear

This myth is the opposite of the previous one. It states that wearing earplugs will increase your chances of getting a swimmer’s ear because they reduce air circulation around your ears.

Earplugs can eliminate the feeling of water pooling up in your ears. If you need the feeling of water, it is better to wear earplugs while swimming than to deprive yourself of the sensation. If you do not hear anything while swimming, make sure you are not blocking your ears with earplugs. Water can build up in your ear canal even when there is no pool of water, so you need to keep them out while you are swimming. If they stay in, the water will build up inside your ear. The only time it is okay to wear earplugs while swimming is when you are snorkeling. Snorkeling drops you into cold water, making it impossible for moisture to pool up in the ears.

5. Earwax Has an Incorrectly Identified Role in Swimmer’s Ear

This myth states that earwax is present in the ears to prevent bacteria from sticking to the outer surface of the ear canal.

Earwax does have a specific role in keeping bacteria from sticking to the skin. It traps thousands of dust particles from accumulating on your skin, which can irritate your skin and cause you pain. It is possible to become temporarily deaf if you suffer an earache due to earwax accumulation. However, your doctor would first determine what caused the pain before treating it. Earwax cannot cause the pain that comes with a swimmer’s ear.

Earwax does play a role in preventing bacteria from sticking to the skin. Bacteria stuck on your skin can be transferred to other parts of your body by touching the area where you have had bacteria on your skin. If you disinfect your ears occasionally, you will not develop a swimmer’s ear. If you notice a strange odor, see a doctor immediately.

6. Swimmer’s Ear is Caused by Regular Earwax

This myth states that regular earwax is the reason for swimmer’s ear

If you do not clean your ears regularly. You can get a buildup of dirt and wax in your ears. This buildup is what causes the swimmer’s ear to develop. Earwax does not cause a swimmer’s ear. The only way to prevent it from happening is to clean out your ears after swimming.

7. You Can Treat Swimmer’s Ear with Over-the-Counter Medicine

This myth states that you can treat a swimmer’s ear by applying an over-the-counter medicine to your ear or using an antibiotic.

Ear health facts state that if you are experiencing a swimmer’s ear, you should seek treatment immediately. If you wait too long, the infection can become more serious. You can relieve a minor swimmer’s ear by using an over-the-counter medicine every day for 5 to 7 days, but a doctor should see any infections that appear to be getting worse.

8. To Treat Swimmer’s Ear, You Must Use Antibiotics

This myth states that if you want to treat a swimmer’s ear, you must use antibiotics.

Antibiotics are not the only way to treat a swimmer’s ear; numerous other treatments are available. The antibiotics work best in combination with a warm compress in your ears. This is a very effective way to treat a swimmer’s ear. You will have to take the medication several times daily for a few weeks.

9. There Is No Cure for Swimmer’s Ear

This myth states that there is no cure for a swimmer’s ear.

There are many ways you can prevent a swimmer’s ear. You can be proactive to prevent it from happening or take the proper steps if it occurs.

10. There Is No Prevention Method for Swimmer’s Ear

This myth states that there is no way to avoid a swimmer’s ear after swimming.

There are many ways you can prevent a swimmer’s ear from occurring. This will only happen if you choose not to take care of your ears after going swimming. You can perform this step after swimming to decrease the risk of the swimmer’s ear.


Swimmer’s ear is a common condition among swimmers. It happens when water accumulates in the ear canal and causes irritation. The best way to get rid of the swimmer’s ear is to prevent it from occurring. The treatment includes using warm compresses to get the dirt out of the ears, antibiotic medicines, or both.

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