While keeping your health afloat this summer remember your ears and your hearing. The summer is upon us. It’s a time to get out and enjoy the sunshine and the longer daylight hours. It’s time for rain, heat, and humidity. Perhaps you enjoy golf or swimming in one of our many lakes. If you are outside in the Florida summer heat, there is going to be some type of moisture build up going on... whether it is in your ear or your hearing aids. It’s important to keep your ears free of excessive moisture.
This moisture may be just from a condensation cycle from going in and out of air conditioning or it may be from sweating. Some people perspire while others sweat profusely. Some people may produce more ear wax after exercising and sweating. If your ears retain the wax, then moisture can get trapped inside the ear canal.
Swimming is also another activity where water may get trapped in your ear canals. I am sure it has happened to most of us. You dive into the water and the next thing you know your ear is clogged with water. You suffer for a while... maybe a day or two to get the water out of your ears. Your try holding your nose and equalizing to move the eardrum.
You tip your head to the side and shake it. Some will put a little rubbing alcohol in the canal and maybe that will dry up the water... maybe not.
Now you are just miserable. If you wear hearing aids it hit you twice; you can’t hear out of your ear and if you put your hearing aid in, then you are putting a high-tech electronic device into a wet environment. NOT GOOD!
Make sure and use a hairdryer on your hearing aid to eliminate the moisture. About a minute on any heat setting will do the trick. If you are a heavy sweater, then a $15.00 investment in a dry aid kit will save you later on repairs for corrosion build up from salt. There is a new machine on the market called ReDux that runs a 4 minute to 15-minute intense drying session. It heats sealed air to the point of boiling water and evaporates moisture to keep your aids in top notch condition. They give you a readout of how much moisture is removed from the hearing aids. While the one we use at our office is a commercial model with a price tag of $3400.00 the company recently released a smaller “patient centered” model with a much lower price of $475.00. These devices have saved many hearing instruments from having a repair bill at the factory. Fortunately, Starkey’s hearing instruments that they just released are now marketed as ‘waterproof’ with an official rating of IP 68 plus. Which is the gold seal number in electronics.
If moisture stays too long in your ear a bacteria can develop. The bacteria will cause the outer ear canal to become infected. It can become swollen and painful. This is known as swimmers’ ear. At this point you will need to see a doctor for some antibiotics.
If you get moisture trapped in your ear canal it will usually dissipate in two to three days. A couple things you can do to try to eliminate the water: Take a very warm wash cloth to the clogged ear and tip your ear to the side with the washcloth completely covering the ear. Lay on that side for about 30 seconds. Sit back up. Repeat several times keeping the washcloth very warm. The warmth will help to pull out the moisture from the ear. Use a hair dryer. Gently blow warm air into the ear canal. The problem is that there is not one perfect solution for everyone. You may have narrow curvy ear canals that makes it harder for the water to come out. Perhaps your ears are full of wax and the water is trapped behind it.
If your ear becomes swollen or painful then make an appointment with your hearing health care provider so that you can see on the video otoscope exactly what the problem is.
If the moisture bothers, you and waiting for it to go away on its own is not an option then there are ear drops that you can use. Our office carries Ear Drying Drops that will clear out the water quickly. Also available are ClearEars Ear Plugs. These are a revolutionary product that will help to draw out moisture and at the same time keep water out. Not only are they great for swimming but also for showers and bath time. People who get water repeatedly lodged in their ear canals or chronic swimmers’ ear should consider using ClearEars Ear Plugs and stopping the problem before it has a chance to get started.
It’s hot out!! Take care of your ears are your hearing aids!! To Hear Better Is To Live Better!!