People who enjoy water sports, such as surfing and swimming, may benefit from using earplugs. Here are a few reasons why.
Ear wax helps to protect the sensitive components of the ear by trapping contaminants, such as dust and debris, before they reach the deepest areas of the ear canal. The trapped contaminants are escorted out of the canal as the skin cells that line the ear travel progressively toward the outside of the ear canal.
Wax also serves as a water repellant. Thus, it protects the skin of the ear canal from excessive water exposure. Nevertheless, if a person spends a large amount of time in the water, the wax can be washed away, leaving the ears susceptible to an infection. Earplugs can block the entry of water to help preserve the protective wax layer in the ear.
Surfer's Ear Prevention
Surfer's ear occurs when bony protrusions develop near the ear canal's opening. The bony lumps don't appear suddenly. Instead, they form slowly over time and can gradually block the opening of the ear canal, causing the hearing to decline.
Surfer's ear occurs as cold water and wind affect the blood supply to the skin that lines the ear canal. However, surfer ear plugs that fit flush within the ear can block the entry of the cold water and wind that is associated with surfer's ear.
Swimmer's Ear Prevention
Swimmer's ear is an infection of the outer ear. It develops as germy water is allowed to rest in the ear for an extended period. The condition can be painful, but keep in mind that it is preventable.
The main course of action to prevent swimmer's ear is to ensure that the ear canal is dry after a swim, shower, or bath. Some physicians advise swimmers to add rubbing alcohol to the ears after water exposure to help dry any remaining moisture. However, if the alcohol is applied to the ears too frequently, the skin of the ear canal may become chapped, increasing the likelihood of an infection.
Pliable earplugs that conform to the shape of the ear canal can help block water from entering the ear. The plugs should not be the foam varieties that help to minimize sound reception. Instead, they should be made of a waterproof material that is designed to prevent water from entering the ear.
If you enjoy spending time in water, schedule a consultation with a physician to discuss and purchase the best earplugs for your ears.
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