Swimming is such an enjoyable activity. Whether you swim in a lake, a pond, the ocean, or your favorite indoor or outdoor pool, it is a wonderful way to be active and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Swimming is also an excellent fitness activity. It burns calories, builds endurance, strengthens muscles, helps manage weight, improves cardiovascular health, and increases flexibility.
Unfortunately, swimming can have a potentially problematic downside: Water can get in your ears, which can increase your risk for ear-related health problems.
If you love swimming but hate getting water in your ears, the care providers at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals can help. Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team of audiologists and hearing aid specialists can fit you with specially designed earmolds, which can protect your ears from water.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of earmolds for swimmers.
Love the water
When it comes to fitness, swimming provides more than just a workout. Doctors and physical therapists often recommend swimming as a tool for recuperating from common surgeries, such as knee replacement. Because the water supports your body as you move, it allows you to exercise without the impact of heavyweight on your joints.
Swimming is a full-body activity that works with just about every one of your muscle groups. It is among the best all-around strategies for boosting fitness, whether you swim alone or participate in aquatic exercise classes such as water aerobics.
Watch your ears
Unfortunately, getting water in your ears while swimming can lead to a condition known as a swimmer’s ear. Also known as otitis externa, this is a condition that results in inflammation and irritation of your ear canal, which is the tube that leads from your eardrum to your outer ear. It may even lead to an ear infection.
Swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria in the water enter your ear and cause it to become inflamed. Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:
- A feeling of fullness within your head
- A sensation of water sloshing around inside your head
- Clear, yellow, or green discharge
- Foul-smelling drainage
- Hearing loss or a change in perception of sound
Complications of swimmer’s ear
Sometimes, the swimmer’s ear goes away on its own. And sometimes, prompt treatment can clear it up easily. However, a swimmer’s ear does have the capacity to cause potentially serious medical complications.
For example, a swimmer’s ear can lead to infection within the ear that could possibly spread to other places, including the bones of the skull and ear canal. It can also lead to serious tissue damage or infection of the tissue in or around the ear.
Infection is an especially worrisome complication for people with diabetes, nerve damage, a weakened immune system, or other health conditions.
Some swimmers develop chronic ear infections from repeated exposure to bacteria-laden swimming water. Although infections can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics, frequent use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance and other medical problems. Preventing infections is a healthier strategy than treating them after they develop.
Protect your ears
Earmolds are custom-made devices that fit snugly into your ear canals. They can offer a safe, effective solution for people who want to keep water out of their ears. Custom-fitted swimming earmolds can protect your ears from taking in bacteria-infested swimming water.
At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, we use the best materials and fitting procedures to ensure you have earmolds that will protect your ears and stop water from entering your ear canals.
Custom earmolds are more effective than over-the-counter earplugs because they are designed to align perfectly with the contours of your ear canal. The better the fit, the less likely you are to have water seep into your ears while you swim laps or splash around with children or grandchildren.
We also offer our patients assistive earmolds that contain hearing aids. As with all of our treatment options, we work with you to create a customized treatment plan that best addresses your needs, your hearing challenges, and your personal medical profile.
We design your custom swimmer’s earmold by using a molding compound to make an impression of your ear canal and outer ear. We use the impression to fabricate an earmold that is just right for you.
Put a stop to the swimmer’s ear
Don’t let swimmer’s ear keep you out of the water or hold you back from the enjoyable, health-boosting benefits of aquatic exercise. Custom earmolds can help keep your ears dry and problem-free.
To schedule an earmold consultation with Dr. Sharim and our team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals contact one of our offices, which are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California.