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Ear Plugs (Swimmer’s Ear)

Commonly referred to as Swimmer’s Ear, infections of the outer ear are common in children and those who are in the water a lot.  When water gets in the ear canal, the corridor within the ear that directs sound to the ear drum, bacteria or even fungi can collect linger in the warm, moist environment.  These outer ear infections cause pain, swelling, fever and sometimes discharge.  Treated early, Swimmer’s Ear rarely leads to complications but it can cause significant discomfort and infected individuals must stay out of the water while undergoing treatment.  For those who want to prevent outer ear infections and damage to the ear, properly fitted ear plugs can help reduce the chances of outer ear infections and make swimming more enjoyable.

Age is a big consideration when deciding on a type of ear plug since those custom made at specialists’ offices are not inexpensive and may be difficult to replace if lost. However, custom made ear plugs are made from molds that fit perfectly in the ear canal and for that reason, they are usually very comfortable to wear. Inexpensive, over-the-counter ear plugs are typically made of some sort of soft silicone or putty that can be compressed and stuffed into the ear canal.  Unlike custom made ear plugs which can be washed and reused, over-the-counter types are not meant to be reused as they get dirty and unhygienic quickly.  The foam earplugs seen at the store are meant to protect hearing from the effects of loud noises, they are not meant to be used in the water and will not protect against Swimmer’s Ear.

Ear plugs are very individualized, meaning one type may work perfectly for some but not at all for others.  Fit is extremely important though since ear plugs that do not fit well can irritate the ear canal and actually lead to more infections and problems.  Ear plugs that are not dried off well and cleaned can also harbor bacteria and debris which will lead to additional issues.  It may not be appropriate for everyone to wear ear plugs so it’s always best to come see us before using them.

At DeVore Katz Michaelson ENT, we will find the best possible solution to you or your loved one’s ear infection troubles and help to resolve the issue as soon as possible. If you are interested in ear plugs in the Dayton area, simply contact us to schedule a consultation and we will assist you as soon as possible.