Go back in time with me to the summer of 1983. My family owned an above-ground swimming pool that kept me and my sisters entertained most days. I was nine years old. It wasn’t the first time I had worn plugs to keep the water out of my ears. Wearing ear plugs with water was a necessity because of the chronic ear infections I’d lived with since babyhood. So that summer, when pool water managed to lodge itself inside my ears—despite the ear plugs—I had a difficult choice to make.
Keep swimming or stop?
Swimmer’s Ear and I Aren’t on Speaking Terms
Years later as an adult, an ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat Specialist) told me I had tiny ear canals prone to infections. This means that any kind of water has a difficult time draining from my ears.
As a toddler, tubes were surgically placed in my ears. And the ear infections continued. Antibiotic after antiobiotic, ear plug after ear plug, the water remained in those teeny-tiny ear canals. When I was fitted for hearing aids for the very first time at age 29, the specialist examining my ear said I had very narrow ear canals, almost like a child’s. Huh?
I’ve tried all kinds of medicines and home remedies to remove the fluid from my ears. Prescribed antibiotics (a variety of them), peroxide as a kid (ewww…), an over-the-counter product called Swimmer’s Ear (still no luck).
So I Decided Not to Swim This Summer
Like most kids, my three children love going to the pool. Over the years, we’ve logged many hours splashing around in chlorinated H2O.
Two summers ago, after months of teaching my young daughter how to doggy paddle, she finally swam the pool’s deep end. Alone. Not long after this momentous occasion, one of my other children (who will remain nameless) splashed water into my right ear. Hours later and even after the use of medication, that ear still throbbed.
You see, not only is swimmer’s ear painful. It makes for impossible listening situations. Hearing aids become useless because the ear fluid still muffles sound.
This summer, I made the choice to let my kids frolic in the pool while I watch them poolside. This isn’t any easy choice, because I love spending hands-on time with my family. But when it comes right down to it, I can’t afford to have any more pool water living inside my ears for days. I’ve got to keep my ears as healthy as possible.
A Serious Health Issue – How to Get Help
Here’s an interesting fact: Having hearing loss or ear infections due to swimmer’s ear is the number-one reason people ‘find’ my blog, LipreadingMom.com. They are scared and looking for answers. I think swimmer’s ear and hearing loss is a huge problem for kids and adults worldwide. If you or someone you know has chronic problems with their ears because of swimming, consider visiting a doctor who specializes in helping/treating the inner ear.
Walk In My Pool Shoes…What Would You Do?
Readers—I wonder if your ears can relate to mine. What steps have or would you take to keep pool water out of them? Share your thoughts below.