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Treating and Preventing Swimmers Ear

Category Home Remedies
Swimmers ear is a painful infection of the outer ear canal. This is a page about treating and preventing swimmers ear.


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By 0 found this helpful
June 16, 2006

Editor's Note: Silly Putty is NOT intended for this use and has a warning on the can that states "Do not use as earplugs"

Here's a tip if you're going swimming and don't have any ear plugs. You can keep a new can of children's Silly Putty on hand, to tear off a bit to put in your ears. To tear off enough so you'll be able to pull it out of your ear, once you're finished swimming.

The reason to make sure it's a new can, you don't know what kinds of germs are in the ones they might have already played with. Be sure to use the putty that's not been played with yet.

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By susie (Guest Post)
June 17, 20060 found this helpful
Top Comment

I was always taught that you don't stick anything in your ears. What if the putty goes in too far? Since putty will soften with the person's body heat, and there's no way to retrieve it, this could be a major problem--not to mention the cost of an ENT specialist.


I think it might be better to delay swimming until you can get some ear plugs.

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By ear doc (Guest Post)
October 8, 20060 found this helpful
Top Comment

NEVER EVER use these "earplugs" on your kids. The chemicals used to make silly putty can cause an uncomfortable skin irritation inside the ear. This may result in inflammation and infection for some unlucky folks if the compound remains in contact with skin for too long - especially if any residue stays in the ear canal after removal.

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June 18, 20101 found this helpful
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DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT EVER DO THIS!!! We have had several children in our ENT office with Silly Putty stuck to eardrums. The putty melts and then hardens on the eardrum resulting in PERMANENT damage. I REPEAT, DO NOT DO THIS. In fact, this suggestion should be removed from this website.

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful
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I put silly putty in my daughters ears because she has tubes. The putty melted and drained into her ear canal. The ENT said to just leave it. Well 2 years later we ended up in childrens hospital having to have a 4 hour surgery to remove it.


It entered into a hole in her eardrum and the eardrum closed up around it. It rested close to one of her hearing bones. Please, never put silly putty into your childs ear for any reason!

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December 28, 20141 found this helpful
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Don't do this! I have it stuck in my ear and it won't come out! I had to go to the ER today(sat night) trying to get help removing it and all they did was rip up my ear and it's still bleeding plus they couldn't get much of it out. Now I have an appointment with a specialist on Monday and my ear really hurts!

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June 23, 2012

Anyone who has ever had swimmers ear knows how painful it is. Put equal parts of vinegar and rubbing alcohol into a small bottle with a dropper lid. Close, and shake gently. Put 8 to 10 drops in your ear, tilt your head sideways for a few minutes so the drops don't come out. Then allow to drain. Repeat with the other ear. If you already have swimmers ear use vinegar only.


By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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By 0 found this helpful
June 14, 2012

I have an ear infection that has been diagnosed as swimmers ear. It is very painful and my outer ear is swollen and has grainy stuff coming out of the ear canal. What heals this?

By Michele


June 15, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Only cure I know of is medicated drops from the doctor. But to prevent this condition: make a solution of 50/50 vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Place a couple drops in your ear while tilting your head toward your shoulder so the solutions stays in the canal, let it stay in your ear a little while (30 seconds) and then drain by tilting your head back to its normal position.


A build up of water that doesn't drain from the ear canal is what causes the problem. My child's doctor told me about this preventive action years ago before they sold "swimmers ear" solutions. The alcohol helps to break up the water and the vinegar reestablished the PH balance in the ear canal.

I had swimmers ear because I washed my hair each day and water got into my ear. Not fun. The vinegar and alcohol solution will not burn unless your ear is irritated. Hope this helps. Didi in Denver

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