Updated: Sep 3
I received a young 12-year-old patient this week who suffered from a fungal infection on both sides. Guess what, she is quite a swimmer and loves water sports. Read through this short article to learn more about swimmers' plugs and how to obtain one.
Despite all the effort that is being made to keep public and school swimming pools clean and far from germs, there are high chance of fungal and other bacteria being found in the water, changing rooms and other places in any swimming pool. The environment of your ear canal is dark, warm and humid, a perfect environment to host bacteria and for the infection to grow. This is the condition of the ear canal of the young swimmer who I attended this week.
The only natural line of defence in your ears against infection is the layer of ear wax that covers the inner side of your ear canal and literally makes them waterproof. That's one of the reasons that general advice about the hygiene of your ears is not to be cleaned with cotton buds or anything that wipes off the healthy layer of ear wax from your ear canals.
Can ear wax cause ear infections?
The answer is yes and no. On the contrary, the ear wax protects your ear canal from infection. However excessive buildup of earwax could stop water from coming back out of the ear canal. The water trapped in your ear may have batteries (often does) that over time can cause ear infections.
Who should consider using swimmers' earplugs seriously?
Swimmer earplugs are ideal if you enjoy swimming but have grommets in the ear, have perforations in the ear or are susceptible to ear infections. Their ‘full shell’ design provides a consistently effective barrier against water ingress into the ear whilst swimming. In summary swimmer ear plug is highly recommended for the following groups:
People with grommets or have perforations in the ear
People who are prone to ear infection
People whose ear canal does not produce much ear wax
People enjoy swimming in the open sea and rivers
Professional swimmers and divers
How can I obtain a pair of swimmer earplugs?
Swimmer earplugs are made for the shape of your ears hence they are custom-made. Here is a 2-step process to obtain a custom-made swimmer earplug:
Visit one of our clinics in London to take ear impressions. Book an impression-taking appointment here. At the end of the appointment, you'll receive a pair of ear impressions that can be sent to your lab of choice to make swimmer earplugs.
Browse Minerva Hearing to explore the options of swimmer earplugs. Contact Minerva Hearing and mail your ear impressions in a small box. The turnaround time to receive your swimmers' earplugs is about 10-12 working days.
Don't let the fear of ear infection ruin your holiday and stay between you and the love of water sports.