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Swimmer’s ear: Diagnosis, Treatments, And Home Remedies

Swimmer’s ear is not a serious disease it will go away but if you haven’t care it can grow into a more severe infection.

Swimmer’s ear is mainly caused by bacteria but sometimes can be bought by fungus or virus.


Your doctor can usually diagnose swimmer’s ear visually and based on the symptoms that you described, but he may need further evaluation.

Initial testing

In initial testing, your doctor will diagnose swimmer’s ear based on the symptoms you described and he will examine visually just looking into your ear. This testing may include-

1. Examine your ear canal

Your doctor may examine your ear canal with instruments called an otoscope. Your ear may appear red, scaly and swollen. Flakes of the skin may be present in the ear canal.

2. Visualization of the condition of your eardrum

The second test may require visualization of the condition of your eardrum to be sure that it isn’t torn. If the ear canal is blocked, your doctor may clear your ear with hydrogen peroxide, a suction device, or ear curette which is a special tool to clear ear.

Further testing

Further testing may require which depend on first testing, symptoms, severity of swimmer’s ear. This evaluation may include

1. If your eardrum is torn

If your eardrum is torn, your doctor will refer you to an ear, nose specialist.  The specialist will examine middle to determine the primary site of infection.

2. Treatment response

If your infection does not respond to treatment, your doctor may take a sample of debris from your ear and send it, to the lab for testing the exact microorganism causing infection.


Treatment depend upon the severe and the pain you are feeling right now. But your doctor may include these treatments.

1. Cleaning your ear canal

Cleaning your ear canal necessary to help ear drop flow to reach the infected area. Your doctor may use ear curette, hydrogen peroxide or suction pump to clean the outer ear canal.

2. Ear drops

Your doctor will probably prescribe you eardrops for use at home, which is the most common treatment for this.  Ear drops fight with infection and helps your ear to heal.

Those drops may have-

  • A steroid which may help to reduce the swelling.
  • This may have antifungal medicines if the symptoms cause by a fungus.
  • Antibiotics to kill bacteria which are present in your ear and causing infection.
  • A chemical that will make a balance in your ear, so it is difficult to grow germs.

You should follow the instruction on the bottle to put drops in the ear.

  • Lie on the side to ear drops
  • Stay in that position for two minutes to let the drops soak.
  • Put the cotton ball and leave it for 10 minutes.
  • You should repeat this three times a day or as your doctor recommends.
3. Medication for pain

Your doctor may recommend painkillers as a reliever for easing the discomfort such as naproxen sodium, Motrin IB, (Tylenol), etc.

4. Ear wicks

If your infection is advanced or severe stage and If your ear canal is very swollen, it can block the ear drops. In that case, your doctor may put a wick which is a just piece of cotton that can help ear drops to reach where it should go. He may need to change wick a few times.

5. IV antibiotics

If your infection is severe and spreads to nearby tissue, cartilage– you may need more powerful antibiotics. This type of infection is called malignant external otitis it is common in the people with weak immune systems and older people with diabetes.

What you should do during the treatments

1. Use painkillers

if you’re in the pain you should use painkillers ibuprofen, naproxen. Your doctor may also prescribe painkillers if you are in pain.

2. Use ear drops

You should continue to use ear drops. You will start to feel better within 7 to 14 days, but don’t stop the early infection can come back.

3. Keep your ear dry

When you go to shower uses cotton coated with jelly to keep out water and don’t swim until your doctor not give you permission.

4. Don’t use a hearing aid and headphones

Don’t put anything your ear, including headphones and hearing aid until you feel better. If you want to ask your doctor first.

5. Concern your doctor if you are not starting to feel better within 2 days. Your infection may not be responding to the treatment.

Home remedies

You can also treat swimmer’s ear at home by these remedies.

1. Rubbing alchohal and vinegar

Your chances of developing swimmer’s ear decrease using yourself before hitting the water.

How to use White Vinegar for white vinegar

  • Just mix one part of rubbing alcohol and one part of vinegar.
  • Lie down with the infected ear facing up.
  • Put 4-5 drops of the mixture in your ear.
  • Stay in this position for 5-10 minute and then sit up.
  • Tilt your head and let drip out the mix of the ear
  • Do this 3 times a day.

Warning you should avoid this treatment if you have punctured eardrum.

2. Garlic drops

Garlic can help you with this because it has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. it can helpful in staving off colds and boosting heart health with all these properties it can also help you with swimmer’s ear.

How to use Garlic for swimmer’s ear

  • Crush few garlic cloves.
  • Mix with two teaspoons of olive oil.
  • Heat this until garlic turns brown
  • Put 3 drops in the infected ear.
  • Do this 2 times a day.

To cure this infection eats 3 raw garlic cloves a day.

You should not use this with the punctured eardrum and if fluid draining from your ear. Before using garlic oil, one time you should ask your doctor.

3. Warm compress

You should try this if there is pus or fluid discharge from your ear. This method will help heat will drain the pus or fluid from your ear and ease the pain.

How to use a warm compress or heat therapy for swimmer’s ear.

  • Soak a washcloth in hot water,
  • Squeeze out the extra water.
  • Place the compress on the infected ear for one minute.
  • Tilt your head and drain out the fluid.
  • Do his after every 20 minutes later.

4. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bacteria killer, so it can easily dry out your ear and cure the infection. it helps wax bubble up that makes wax softer. The researcher in a study also found that it is the most common treatment for ear wax irrigation.

How to use hydrogen peroxide for swimmer’s ear.

  • Take 3% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Lie down and put 2 drops in the infected ear.
  • Stay in that position for 5 minutes.
  • Sit up, tilt your head and let it drain from your ear.
  • Do this multiple times a day.

5. Onion juice

This method is also described in Ayurveda because onion juice kills the bacteria. It also lessens the pain soon after using it.

How to use onion for swimmer’s ear

  • Squeeze the juice from the onion.
  • Heat the juice for a few seconds.
  • Put 3 drops of warm juice (not hot) in your ear.
  • Leave it for 5 minutes.
  • Tilt your head and let the fluid drain out of your ear.
  • Do this 3 times a day.

6. Holy basil

This method is also suggested by Ayurveda for swimmer’s ear. It kills the bacteria so it will fight with infection and ease the pain. It will also treat fluid discharge.

How to use holy basil for swimmer’s ear.

  • Squeeze the juice from the basil oil.
  • Heat the juice to lukewarm.
  • Put 3 drops in your ear and stay in that position for 5 minutes.
  • Sit up and tilt your head and let the fluid drain for the ear.
  • Do this 3 to 4 times a day.
[expand title=”Source”]


Holy basil https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/

Garlic https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/

Onion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874089/

Rubbing alcohol https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88911/

Hydrogen peroxide https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC186138/




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