Treating and Preventing Surfer’s Ear Infections

Spending long hours in the water can lead to irritated and infected ears, commonly known as surfer’s ear. Here are effective remedies and prevention techniques.

Use Ear Drops

Over-the-counter drops containing acetic acid (vinegar) help dry out excess earwax and fluid causing the infection. Follow directions carefully.

Shrinks Inflammation and Promotes Drainage

Relieves painful blockages promoting ear’s natural self-cleaning.

Warm Compresses

Gently apply a warm, damp washcloth to outer ear to encourage circulation and bring infected areas to a head, releasing pus/fluid.

Draws Out Infections Naturally

Combining with ear drops hastens recovery without antibiotics.

See an ENT Doctor

If drops/compresses don’t improve symptoms within a few days, see an ear, nose and throat specialist for examination and culture.

Rules Out Deeper or Persistent Infections

May provide oral or topical antibiotics as needed.

Dry Ears Completely After Surfing

Thoroughly clean and wipe outer ear canal dry to remove trapped moisture promoting infections.

Proper Drying Post-Surf

Prevents growth of humid conditions bacteria thrive in.

Use Ear Plugs

Foam or custom-fit versions form a watertight barrier keeping water out while surfing or any water activities.

Physical Blockade Against Infection Onset

Particularly for surfers prone to recurrent cases.

Dry Ear Gear

Drying racks, fans or silica packets absorb moisture from hoods, hats and headphones after use to prevent lingering dampness.

Tools to Ensure Complete Drying of Gear

Water-holding fabrics caf foster infections if not cleaned thoroughly.

Vinegarified Water Solutions

Recent studies exploring acetic acid eardrops or rinsed with diluted vinegar show ability to balance ear pH and acidify infections.

Non-Traditional But Promising Treatment

May prove effective remedy if research continues successful.

Common Ear Infection Symptoms

ItchinessIntense itching and irritation inside ear canal
DischargeYellowish or brown fluid draining from ear

Frequently Asked Questions

Is earache normal after surfing?

Minor fullness/aches likely not infected but see doc if severe/persistent.

How long does surfers ear typically last?

Mild cases 5-7 days with home remedies. Seek medical help if not improving by then.

Can surfers ear cause hearing loss?

Potentially if infection penetrates deep ear bones. Seeing doctor ensures proper diagnosis/treatment.


Consistent prevention and early home treatment of mild cases helps surfers avoid risk of recurrent surfer’s ear infections. But serious or persistent ailments still require medical evaluation to prevent complications.

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