View Full Version : Water in the ears

Nancy Graham
May 22nd, 2003, 10:25 PM
Having recently returned to fitness swimming (with an eye toward my first triathlon), I am re-experiencing water in the ear syndrome. I have purchased, and am using some commercial drops (name escapes me at the moment) which does help dry out the ears.

My question is whether simple alcohol will work as well as the drops. Am curious to know what any of you may use for this.

Thanks, Nancy

Courteous Swimmer
May 23rd, 2003, 12:19 AM
AURO-DRI is commonly used. It's 95% alcohol anyway.

May 23rd, 2003, 01:02 AM
YES plain alcohol works great. Anything with rubbing alcohol in it works great. I would rather use "swimmers ear" cause that tip fits right up into your ear. No mess. Other wise I have to put a small amount of rubbing alcohol in the cap of the bottle and have someone help me drop it it. That or you could find an eyedroper.


May 23rd, 2003, 06:48 AM
I suffer from the occassional (and very painful) bout of swimmer's ear. the dr told me to use an o.t.c ear drop (like auro-dri) to clear up any water after practice. if you are prone to swimmer's ear, you can also use an alcohol/white vinegar solution; the rubbing alcohol dries up any water, whilst the vinegar neutralises the acidity to prevent fungal growth.


May 23rd, 2003, 11:58 AM
I had a doctor give me the exact same advice about the alcohol/white vinegar solution. He said to mix them 1:1. That was when I was a kid, but it seemed to work.

May 23rd, 2003, 02:46 PM
Hi Nancy!

I think the advantage to the auro-dry or swim-ear brands of drops is in addition to the 95% alcohol, they have 5% glycerin which softens the burn of the alcohol. Per unit volume, they are much more expensive than alcohol alone, but they don't really cost much and are convenient.

I use drops after every swim, but even so I recently had a bout with a mild infection. I started using silicone ear plugs and they have worked very well for me (though it's hard to hear the coach!)

How's your training going? I swam my mile in Lake Travis and survived. It was a beautiful day, great conditions, halleluiah!


Nancy Graham
May 23rd, 2003, 08:59 PM
I just love this group and am so happy to have found you all -- what a WEALTH of information lies here amongst everyone! Thanks for your answers, it sounds like the gylcerin route is perhaps the way to go to avoid that burning sensation.

Kim, I am on my own in training, and I feel good about my progress --am swimming 800 yards nonstop with ease -- if not with speed I envy your opportunities to swim in open water (year round I'm guessing). Here in the Seattle area I will be lucky if I can get in a lake by late June without frost bite! I am so pleased to have gotten back into the swim . I had frogotten how much I like it, and the endorphins arrive earlier than in my other activites.

Bicycling has been my major interest and time consumer (again not for speed), but I need practice for triathlon-type riding (for time and all). Now running is a whole different story:rolleyes: I have not done much of that yet (or ever) and must push myself to start doing at least a little. So we shall see. I guess I can always walk-shuffle/run!!

Thanks everyone,


May 24th, 2003, 11:20 AM
Two commercial soultions are called "Auro-Dri" and "Swimmers Ear" They both contain glycerine and alcohol. There are many of these same products as the ingredients are cheap to make. The FDA by the way is regulating some of the claims that these type "ear drying products" can make.

A simple home remedy is 50-50 white vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
Its much cheaper then the commercial products.The alcohol dries up the water .

Ear plugs can help also .The best are custom molded by a ENT Doctor. All ear plugs can potentially seep and once water is in the ear it can not come out till the plugs are removed which can be a bad thing if a swimmers has a real ear problem not just a comfort issue with the water.

Some swim caps can do a good job of keeping water from the ears either by wearing two swimcaps with a more water tite style on the outside or if thats too tight with a extra inner band made from a extra cap. Any leaks can be felt and the cap pulled away to let the seepage out before it gets way into the ear. These swimcaps can also better protect hair. Search the "Google.com" search engine for "Swim Band" or "Swim Team Hair Care" and see page's about swim caps that keep the most water out.

If none of these ideas work There is always hopping on one foot with the head turned sideways!

May 24th, 2003, 02:13 PM
I have had trouble with water in the ears for as long as I can remember and have always use good ole alcohol because it is less expensive than the commercial drops

May 27th, 2003, 10:27 AM
Having had "water in ear" problems for decades, my
current solution involves 3 items: ear plugs,
a head band and a cap. I have had no problems since using this combination. Ear plugs go in 1st, band on 2nd, and cap covering all of the
above 3rd. The plugs used to come out before I started using the band. The band I use is available at the following URL:


Hope this helps. Bob

May 27th, 2003, 11:14 AM
I have a question on a different side. Had anyone ever experienced ear aches after swimming in a really cold pool? I went to a meet this weekend where the water was no more than 70 degrees, and when I do flip turns water gets in there. I can get the water out with swimmers ear, but for days it just aches. This happened before in a cold pool also. Warmer water doesn't irritate it at all and I'm fine. I'm sure it's just that freezing cold water? Any experiences with this??


May 27th, 2003, 11:34 AM
I get earaches if I swim deep, or dive alot, in very deep water. The last time I dove for coins with the grandchildren my ears killed me for two days afterwards. I use the alcohol/vinegar solution afterwards so there wasn't water left in my ears. I'm sure it must be the exposure to the underwater pressure otherwise the alcohol/vinegar solution works very well for me.

May 28th, 2003, 11:11 PM
Swimming under the surface at a depth of 6 ft or more will put much pressure on your ears. I swim to the bottom of a 13 ft pool from time to time and its suprising how much pressure there is at such a "shallow depth"

I read Bobs use of the ear plugs head band and cap/ I have seen these head bands and they are some what thick. They are not designed to keep water out but only to hold ear plugs in. The 'Swim Band " I posted about is not of this design. Its a regular swimcap cut off at the top. It does keep water out at the sides, keeps earplugs in if you want earplugs, and makes all caps more watertite ..and it is cheap and will fit under another swimcap.
The page is at http://www.geocities.com/lapswimr/swimband.html
for anyone in the future that wants to see ways to keep water from ears or hairstyles.