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Ear Drying and Scopes

 –  Wax isn't the only thing that can build up in your ear canals – water can too. You may have noticed fullness in your ears after swimming due to trapped water. Water can become trapped in your ears any time you expose them to water – even when you bathe or shower. Not only does trapped water feel uncomfortable, it increases your risk for a condition called "swimmer's ear."
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Trapped Water and Swimmer's Ear

Swimmers ear is a condition where your ear canals become inflamed and painful. Common symptoms include ear pain, pressure and sometimes decreased hearing. Swimmer's ear happens when our ear canals become irritated, often by trapped water. When water is trapped in your ears, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. If you've had swimmer's ear before you're more likely to get it again. To help prevent swimmer's ear is to keep your ear canals as dry as possible. One way to do this is to use ear drying drops after bathing, showering or swimming. These drops contain ingredients that work in seconds to dislodge trapped water and remove excess moisture. They relieve uncomfortable fullness due to trapped water and help keep bacteria and fungi from growing inside your ear canals.

The Importance of Keeping Your Ears Clean

Ever had itchy ear canals? It's an annoying symptom that's often due to wax buildup. Ear cleaners made of flexible plastic are available to help. One end of this handy tool clears wax and dead skin cells from your ear canals while the other end helps relieve the itching. Always use this and any other ear care tool as directed to avoid injury to your ear canals or eardrums.

Another way to keep your ears and ear canals clean is to use an ear cleansing spray. Some ear cleansing sprays contain natural ingredients like seawater to help cleanse and refresh your ears. The water in these sprays is sterilized to kill bacteria and fungi that cause ear infections. Just place the nozzle into your ear and press for instant cleansing.

Also available are otoscopes. These are instruments that help you see inside the ear. This is the same instrument your doctor uses to look at your ear canals for wax and your eardrums to make sure you don't have an ear infection. Fiber optic otoscopes produce an intense white light that makes it easy to see inside the ear. They're ideal for nurses and doctors in training and other people entering the health care field. They're light enough to slip into a coat pocket.

The Bottom Line

Wax and water buildup can cause your ear canals to feel full and uncomfortable. They also reduce your ability to hear. If you swim or expose your ears to water, you might consider ear drying drops when you finish and don't forget to clean your ears regularly to reduce wax buildup. If you're experiencing significant ear pain, dizziness, fever, swelling or hearing loss, see your doctor.

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