As the weather gets hotter we find ourselves relaxing by the pool, hanging out in the ocean, or diving into the nearest lake. However, time spent in the water can lead to an achy ear. Swimmer’s ear not only can affect competitive swimmers, but can cause problems for anyone. Follow these helpful tips on preventing and treating swimmer’s ear so you can spend more time poolside, instead of at the doctor’s office.\nWhat Causes Swimmer’s Ear?\nSwimmers ear, also known as otitis externa, occurs when the canal that joins your eardrum to the external ear becomes inflamed. This inflammation is caused by moisture, such as water and bacteria, getting trapped in the ear canal.\nBut, don’t be fooled by the term swimmer’s ear \u2013 swimming isn’t the only way your ear can become inflamed. Anyone who is outside in the wind and rain can develop this painful condition as well.\nSymptoms of Swimmer’s Ear\nSome common symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:\n\nEar pain\nPlugged feeling in your ears\nEar pain while chewing or if you tug on your earlobes\n\nSwimmer’s Ear Treatment\nSwimmer’s ear is often treated with antibiotics, such as pills or ear drops. If you can’t make it to the doctor, you can always try a homemade remedy.\nMix a solution of half rubbing alcohol and half vinegar. When rubbing alcohol combines with the water in your ear it evaporates and removes the water, while vinegar prevents bacteria growth. Apply a couple of drops of solution in each ear and let it drain out.\nConsult your doctor about drops if you have ear tubes, damaged ear drums, outer ear infections, or ear drainage.\nPreventing Swimmer’s Ear\nTry taking these tips into consideration when you plan on swimming or being around water that has not been treated.\n\nDon’t swim in lakes or oceans on days where you see signs alerting swimmers of high bacteria counts.\nAfter swimming, keep your ears clean and dry. If using a blow dryer to dry ears, make sure the dryer is on the lowest setting and hold it a foot away from your ear.\nUse a bath cap, ear plugs, or a custom-fitted swim cap when swimming.\nPool test strips can be used to check for pH levels. The ideal range for pH in swimming pool water is 7.2 \u2013 7.8.\n\nContact your doctor if your ears are itchy, flaky, swollen, painful, or if you have drainage from your ears. Also, consult your doctor about swimming if you have recently had an ear infection or ear surgery.