The bain of most swimmers. Contracting swimmers ear, otherwise known as otitis externa, is a very painful condition. In its mildest form, it will normally heal within a couple of weeks. Whereas in the event you get the full blown condition, it can lead to a lot of discomfort and also lengthy medical treatment for the patient.
Today most swimming clubs would advocate wearing a pair of earplugs to help prevent against this condition. Luckily most swimming baths now also stock silicone earplugs (as they are waterproof), as well as swimming caps.
As an audiologist, I am always amazed by the amount of people that come to see me for help with treating this condition and are actually surprised with my simple recommendation of the above 2 items. Yes, it is simple as that.
Statistics also have shown that children are much more prone to contracting the condition, so extra care should be taken when taken youngsters to a pool. There are now thankfully quite a few companies that make plugs designed for children in mind. We also recommend that after exiting the swimming pool that the ears are dried out thoroughly, as it is normally this residue that leads to infections.
In the event you have contracted the condition, you can actually continue swimming as long as you make good effort to protect the infected ear by following the above recommendations. In the event the inflammation has not healed after 2 weeks, it is highly recommended that you take some ear drops, available over the counter at your chemists, in order to prevent the condition from spreading.
It is quite unusual for the condition to continue after 3 to 4 weeks, due to the quick healing nature of the ear canal.
For professional or regular swimmers there is such a thing as custom ear plugs that although quite costly do actually offer much better value in the long run, considering they tend to last up to 5 years. The recommended period for changing the plugs, as our facial makeup goes through a big change after such a period.
In conclusion I am sure you would agree prevention is much better than cure.