Swimming is a fun and refreshing activity that many people enjoy, especially during the warm summer months. However, if you have an ear infection, you may wonder if it’s safe to take a dip in the pool or go swimming in the ocean. The answer is no: swimming with an ear infection is not recommended and can lead to serious health complications. In this article, we’ll explore why swimming with an ear infection is risky, how to prevent ear infections, alternatives to swimming, and more.

Can You Swim with an Ear Infection?

No, you should not swim with an ear infection. When you have an ear infection, your ear canal is inflamed and sensitive. Water can worsen the infection and potentially push bacteria further into the ear canal, causing more pain, discomfort, and even hearing loss or facial paralysis. Swimming with an ear infection can also lead to complications such as swimmer’s ear, a type of outer ear infection that is caused by water trapped in the ear canal.

Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and can affect the middle ear (otitis media) or the outer ear (otitis externa). Symptoms of an ear infection may include pain, redness, swelling, discharge, fever, itching, and vertigo. Treatment for ear infections may include antibiotics, pain relievers, ear drops, and rest. In some cases, surgery may be required.

Preventing Ear Infections

The best way to deal with an ear infection is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your ears dry: Avoid putting objects in your ears and make sure to dry your ears thoroughly after swimming or showering.
  • Use earplugs: If you’re going to be around loud noises or in the water, wear earplugs to protect your ears.
  • Avoid dirty water: Don’t swim in water that may be polluted or contaminated with bacteria or other harmful substances.
  • Seek medical attention: If you think you have an ear infection, see a doctor right away. Early treatment can help prevent complications.

By taking care of your ears and practicing good ear hygiene, you can reduce your risk of developing an ear infection and enjoy swimming and other water activities safely.

Personal Experience

One of our writers, Jane, recently had an unpleasant experience with swimming and an ear infection. She had been looking forward to a weekend at the beach with her family and friends, but a few days before the trip, she started feeling some discomfort in her left ear. She didn’t think much of it, assuming it was just a mild infection that would clear up on its own.

However, when Jane went swimming in the ocean, she felt a sharp pain in her ear and noticed some discharge. She got out of the water and tried to drain the water from her ear, but it didn’t help. The pain and inflammation intensified, and she had to go to urgent care for treatment.

Jane learned the hard way that swimming with an ear infection is not worth the risk. She missed out on a lot of fun activities because she was in pain and had to take antibiotics for several days. She also had to cancel some work appointments, which cost her time and money. Since then, she has become more careful about her ear health and always wears earplugs when swimming or around loud noises.

Medical Reasons

There are several scientific and medical reasons why swimming with an ear infection is not recommended. First, the ear canal is a delicate and sensitive area that can easily be damaged or infected. When water gets trapped in the ear canal, it creates a warm, moist environment that is ideal for bacteria and fungi to grow and multiply. This can worsen the infection and make it more difficult to treat.

Additionally, the pressure of the water can put stress on the eardrum and weaken it, making it more susceptible to damage and infection. If the eardrum ruptures, it can lead to hearing loss, fluid drainage, and other complications.

In some cases, the inflammation and infection can spread to other parts of the ear and even to the brain, causing serious health problems. For example, meningitis is a rare but serious complication of ear infections that can lead to fever, seizures, and death.

Alternatives to Swimming

If you have an ear infection and want to enjoy the water, there are some alternatives to swimming that you can consider. For example:

  • Sit by the water: You can still enjoy the sights and sounds of the water without getting in it. Bring a book or some music and relax by the pool or shore.
  • Use a floatation device: If you want to be in the water, use a floatation device such as a life jacket or noodle to keep your head and ears above water.
  • Visit a water park: Many water parks have non-submerged rides and attractions that you can enjoy without getting fully soaked.

Remember, there are many ways to have fun without putting your health at risk.

Case Study

One of our readers, Tom, recently shared his story about a serious ear infection he developed after swimming in a lake. Tom had been training for a triathlon and was doing some practice swims when he noticed some discomfort in his left ear. He didn’t think much of it and kept swimming, assuming it would go away on its own.

Unfortunately, the infection got worse, and Tom started experiencing intense pain, hearing loss, and dizziness. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a severe outer ear infection that had spread to his middle ear. He had to take several weeks off from training and work and undergo multiple rounds of antibiotics and ear drops.

Tom regrets not taking his ear health more seriously and hopes that others can learn from his mistake. He emphasizes the importance of wearing earplugs and avoiding dirty water, as well as seeking medical attention right away if you suspect you have an ear infection.

Fun Facts

Here are some fun and fascinating facts about ear infections and ear health:

  • Earwax is not just a nuisance; it actually helps protect your ear canal from bacteria, water, and other irritants.
  • Humans are not the only ones who can get ear infections: dogs, cats, and other animals can also develop this condition.
  • Swimmer’s ear is not just an occupational hazard for athletes; it can affect anyone who spends time in water with high bacterial levels.
  • The ear is made up of three main parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Each part has a specialized function in hearing and balance.
  • Your genes can play a role in your susceptibility to ear infections; some people are more prone to developing this condition than others.


In conclusion, swimming with an ear infection is not recommended and can lead to serious health complications. If you have an ear infection, it’s important to take preventive measures such as keeping your ears dry, using earplugs, and avoiding dirty water. You can still enjoy water activities by sitting by the water, using a floatation device, or visiting a water park with non-submerged rides. By taking care of your ear health and seeking medical attention if needed, you can protect your ears and enjoy the summer safely.

Thank you for reading, and we hope this article has been informative and helpful. For more information on ear infections and ear health, check out our other articles and resources.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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