You Heard Right! Ear Molds are the New Ear Plugs

When swimming, most children have all kinds of protection. They have the watchful eyes of their parents, flotation devices, and even water shoes. But there may be one more product ready to serve their health – ear molds or swim molds  which can reduce the instances of swimmer’s ear, a common infection which happens when water in the ear canal allows for bacterial growth. To avoid this painful condition, our audiologists can custom-fit ear molds ideal for comfort and effectiveness in preventing water from entering the ear and allowing bacteria to thrive. Excessive and constant contact with moisture in the ear canal can cause infection in the external part of the canal. As previously mentioned, infections of this sort are commonly known as “swimmer’s ear.”

Swimmer’s ear (also called otitis externa) is different from a regular ear infection. Usually, when a kid has an ear infection, they mean otitis media an infection of the middle ear. But swimmer’s ear happens when bacteria grows in the ear canal, which is a passageway to the eardrum. In that canal, you’ll find delicate skin that’s protected by a thin coating of earwax. Most of the time, water can run in and out of the ear canal without causing a problem. Bacteria get a chance to grow when water stays in the ear canal for an extended period of time. A lot of swimming (and in this Arizona heat this is a common pastime for children) can lead to this wetness in the ear canal. Bacteria grow and the ear canal gets red and swollen. Sometimes kids can get an infection in the ear canal even if they haven’t been swimming. According to medical experts, scratches or other irritation to the ear canal can also lead to swimmer’s ear.

Other symptoms of swimmer’s ear include pain inside the ear, itchiness, plugged ears, and pus discharge from the ear. Earplugs are a great way to protect your ears when you swim, but as with many products on the market, some are more effective that their competitors. Generic ear plugs will not work as well as custom-fit ear molds which protect water from getting in the ear canal. While no swim molds, ear molds, or ear plugs can create an absolute watertight barrier of the ear canal, proper size and fit can be determined by our audiologists to ensure that most of the moisture stays out and the outer ear is less aggravated.  According to the CDC, “swimmer’s ear is a common problem that can cause pain and discomfort for children and swimmers of all ages. In the United States, swimmer’s ear results in an estimated 2.4 million health care visits every year and nearly half a billion dollars in health care costs.” Our ear molds can reduce instances of swimmer’s ear, but are also ideal for hearing protection from loud noises, or for bathing, showering, or other hearing needs. Comfort and effectiveness are key to better ear molds. Contact us today to see how you and your children can enjoy swimming this summer without the constant fear of ear pain from swimmer’s ear. Better fit means better protection!

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