Swimmer’s Ear

A pool filled with other swimmers is a breeding ground for many forms of bacteria. Everyone has bacteria in the ear canal, but the moist, alkaline environment can cause a painful and itchy infection, and inflammation in the outer ear canal which may lead to a full-blown ear infection.

In extreme cases, an entire swimming squad could pick up an infection — which is more the result of a poorly sanitized pool than individual susceptibility to ear infection. If this occurs, take the matter up with the people who run the pool.


The best form of treatment is preventive.

After every swim, shake your head to one side, then the other to rid your ears of any excess water, then use a clean towel to dry out the inside of the ear. It’s simple and effective.

You can also buy over-the-counter eardrops containing an antiseptic. If you’re prone to ear infections it’s probably wise to wear a waterproof swimcap over the ears and use the drops both before and after a swim.

No Earplugs

Avoid earplugs, since these can trap infection inside the ear! You can prepare your own eardrops from a combination of half vinegar and half hydrogen peroxide, although this solution has a shelf life of only a week.

You can also use vinegar on its own; it restores the acidity of the ear. Buy an empty glass bottle with a short, stubby nozzle, sterilize it in boiling water and use for storing the mixture.

These solutions should only be preventive measures and should not be used to treat swimmer’s ear.

In severe cases where there is some kind of discharge, it is best to consult your doctor since a serious infection can have consequences for your health.

Train safe!


Free Triathlon Training Guide
Free 7 Step Plan Design