In the Audiologist’s Corner:  How to Summer-Proof Your Ears & Hearing Aids

Splish-Splash.  Fun in the sun! Summertime is often a looked forward to time for all, especially for kids.  But also with summer, can come a lot of time in the water and for some can cause problems. We have all heard of swimmers ear.  Swimmers ear is medically known as otitis externa. Otitis externa is usually a bacterial infection of the external ear canal skin and often referred to as a fungal infection.  It can cause a conductive hearing loss, especially if the ear canal is severely swollen, impeding the transfer of sound, and also drainage and debris may be present. The can be very painful, and extremely painful to the touch.  When this does occur, seek medical attention immediately. In most cases, a form of a topical antibiotic is prescribed. To prevent swimmers ear, you might try the following. If the child does not currently have an infection, tubes or perforation of the eardrum, then a solution can be used before and after swimming.  Mix an equal ration of 1:1 of alcohol and distilled vinegar. The alcohol helps dry up any moisture and the vinegar helps to restore the natural pH of the ear. Before using this solution, it is best to first consult with your doctor. Swim plugs can also be used. The best forms of these are custom made earplugs that can prevent water from entering the ear canal.  Contact our audiology department for more information.

Hearing aids are also prone to moisture problems.  The number one cure for this is using a dry aid kit.  These can be purchased from our clinic and range in price from $5 to over $100.  The basic dryers are silica beads in a jar. Hearing aids can be placed in here every night and the beads will absorb any moisture from the hearing aids and eamolds.  The more expensive option is a dryer that plugs in, heats the air around the hearing aids, contains a UV light to disinfect the hearing aids and has a built in timer for a specialized drying process.  Don’t let the fun in the sun this summer slow you down! Call our clinic today and ask for more information.

By Adrianne Miller, AuD., FAAA, CCC-A