Swimmer's Ear–What's That?

Swimmer’s Ear is an infection of the ear canal known as acute external otitis or otitis externa.  Swimmer’s Ear is caused by water staying in your ear after swimming–hence the name.  By water staying in your ear canal, it creates a dark moist environment that is the perfect breeding ground for bacterial and fungal infections.  Swimmer’s Ear can also be caused by damaging the layer of skin covering the ear canal by sticking foreign objects such as fingers or cotton swabs into your ear.

Swimmer’s Ear can be incredibly painful and any type of sustained ear infection can lead to a ruptured ear damage and further pain, irritation to the inner ear.  Bacterial ear infections are the most common type of ear infection associated with Swimmer’s Ear and they can be treated by means of oral antibiotics or antibiotic ear drops.  Fungal ear infections are less common and often missed by general practitioners.  Oftentimes an ENT is required to diagnose a fungal ear infection.

Fungal ear infections are more difficult to treat than bacterial infections, particularly because they are often misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated with antibiotics.  Thus, allowing the infection to worsen.  Further, they no longer make anti-fungal ear drops and therefore, fungal ear infections must be treated by other means, typically via natural remedies that have been around for decades and in some cases, centuries.  The first step of treating a fungal ear infection (and bacterial ear infections as well) is to keep your ear as dry as possible.  Therefore, regardless of what type of Swimmer’s Ear you have, keep your ear as dry as possible.  You can use a mix of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar in your ear canal in order to keep the area dry and keep the pH balanced.  If you treat with an ENT, the traditional remedies that will likely be used to treat a fungal infection are boric acid powder and gentian violet which both have anti-fungal properties and can be used for treating fungal ear infections.

If you have a fungal ear infection and are curious about more treatment options, you can check out Fungal Ear Infection Treatment for more information.