Preventive Maintenance for Summer Ears

Summertime brings its own rituals, pastimes, and challenges. As far as your hearing health goes, there are a few things to be particularly aware of during the hottest days of the year.

The most common one has to do with water.

Diving into swimming pools or natural bodies of water increases the likelihood of fungal or bacterial infections. Usually getting lumped under the term “swimmer’s ear,” what is commonly happening is some kind of irritation of the skin in your ear canal. Even if you don’t spend time in the water, perspiration from hot conditions can cause the same issues.

The key is to get your ears dried out without increasing the likelihood of infection. This is especially true if you use hearing aids, since putting them back in will trap moisture in the ear canal.

The first rule is to not be tempted to use a cotton swab to rub them dry. This can make things worse, since the swabs can scratch the skin in the ear and actually increase the likelihood of infection. The best things to do include letting gravity do some of the work by tilting your to either side (pulling on your earlobe at the same time helps too, since it flattens the ear canal), using a blow dryer on low heat, or drying drops that do the job via a chemical reaction.

Other summer issues to keep in mind include protecting ears from extreme sound environments (fireworks, concerts, vehicle races), fluid buildup in your ears due to allergies, and discomfort from the effects of flying (if a summer vacation is in the mix).

Take it easy on your ears this summer.

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