WITH forecasts of an extended summer of good weather, swimmers are being urged to think about protecting their ears before hitting the water.

Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation of the external ear canal that can often lead to an infection. It occurs when water becomes trapped in the ear, most often as a result of swimming, however it can occur whenever your ears are exposed to water that can get into the ear canal.

The condition can cause extreme discomfort, and can often be identified when sufferers find it painful to touch their outer ear.

Wendy Black, hearcare director at Specsavers Hearing Centre Yeovil, says: ‘With the recent good weather people are bound to be flocking to their local pools or beach to go swimming. As a result, we need to think about protecting our ears. Swimmer’s ear is a very common and painful condition that is best avoided.

When water becomes trapped in your ear canal, it can lead to more complicated problems. As the water remains stagnant, it can become a hive for infection causing bacteria.’ It is estimated that one in ten people will suffer from the swimmer’s ear at some point in their lives . While there are various treatments for the condition, including antibiotic eardrops, Wendy advises that prevention is the best treatment for the condition.

She adds: ‘The best way to avoid swimmer’s ear is by protecting yourself with swimming moulds, which you can find at your local Specsavers. These will keep water out of your ear canal. If you do come into contact with water without protection, then be sure to thoroughly dry your ears. You can do this by using a hair dryer on a low setting or with drying drops.

Be sure not to push cotton buds or the end of a towel into your ears to try and dry them, this could potentially cause damage. If you think you may have an infection, then you should seek advice from your GP.’ Specialised hearing protection is available at all Specsavers hearing centres.

To book a free hearing check or eye examination at Specsavers Hearing Centre Yeovil you can call 01935 410 040,