Swimmer’s ear… it might not sound like a horrible thing, but the fact is that it can cause a lot of complications. In fact, swimmer’s ear can even lead to partial loss of hearing, and you don’t have to be a swimmer to experience it. Swimmer’s ear is nothing more than an infection, and an infection is never a good thing. An infection means that you’ve got bad bacteria somewhere, and having it in your ear can be devastating, especially if it leads to pain and loss of hearing. Swimmer’s ear is something laypeople call an outer ear canal infection. The symptoms of swimmer’s ear include pain, redness in the ear, difficulty hearing, and discharge of fluid from the ear, among others. However, these are only the mild symptoms you can experience from swimmer’s ear. The more severe symptoms of this medical condition include severe pain and redness, pus discharge from the ear, blockage causing loss of hearing, pain that radiates to the neck and head, and even swelling of lymph nodes. One very severe complication that can occur from swimmer’s ear can even be life-threatening. This is why it’s never good to take swimmer’s ear lightly. Another reason is the complications that can occur due to this infection.
Swimmer’s ear isn’t just for swimmers. It’s only named ‘swimmer’s ear’ because swimmers tend to experience it more than other people. But the fact is that swimmer’s ear can happen to anyone; just because you’re not a swimmer, don’t expect to be immune from it. The website of the Mayo Clinic defines swimmer’s ear, simply, as an infection in the outer ear canal. (The outer ear canal is that part of the ear’s structure which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head.) So, if you have ears, you can get swimmer’s ear, and you don’t have to swim to get it. Do you take showers or baths? Do you wash your hair? Do you ever find yourself caught in the rain or in humidity? Do you use headphones or clean your ears with cotton swabs? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions (and hopefully you did, especially the shower/bath thing), then you can be prone to these infections of the outer ear canal that are also known as ‘swimmer’s ear.’