Ear Center: Swimming Instructions for Children with Ear Tubes

Swimming Instructions for Children with Ear Tubes

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SWIMMING POOLS WITH TREATED WATER

  1. Young children, less than 3 years old, who are primarily splashing and do not place their heads underwater and children less than 6 years old who do not dive under water do not need to take any special precautions.
  2. If the parents or child feels that water has gotten into the ear(s), place 3 drops of Ciprodex® (as prescribed) in the affected ear(s) at the end of the swimming session. Push on the flap of cartilage in front of the ear opening (the tragus) 3 times to “pump” the drops through the tube and into the middle ear.
  3. Please do not place "Swimmer's Ear Drops" or any drops that contain alcohol in your child's ears after ear tubes have been inserted. Alcohol based drops placed in the ear will cause severe pain. Do not administer drops that contain hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Older children, usually 6 years and older, who are swimming more than 3 feet underwater should wear fitted earplugs. You may purchase sized earplugs at most pharmacies or in our office. Soft silicone plugs may be used but should not be pushed deeply into the ear canal. Applying a thin coating of Vaseline around the plug helps to maintain a seal. In unusual situations where it is difficult to get a good fit with standard earplugs, custom-fitted plugs may be purchased through our Audiology Department.
  5. Never use "Silly Putty" as an earplug. "Silly Putty" melts at body temperature and is very difficult to remove from the ear canal. Only use plugs that were designed specifically to be placed safely in the ear canal.

OCEAN OR LAKE SWIMMING

  1. We do not recommend that children with ear tubes put their heads underwater in untreated ocean or lake water because of the risk of infection. Small children should wear earplugs even if they are just splashing in the shallow water. If water accidentally gets into the ear(s), place 3 drops (as prescribed) of Ciprodex® (or other drops that your doctor may have prescribed) in the affected ears. Please do not place "Swimmer's Ear Drops" or any drops that contain alcohol or hydrogen peroxide in your child's ears after ear tubes have been inserted. Alcohol based drops placed in the ear will cause severe pain.
  2. Children with an active ear infection should not put their heads under water until medically cleared.
  3. Children with open tubes should not use any type of swimmer’s ear preparations, nor should they use any type of eardrops other than those prescribed by The Ear Center of Greensboro, P.A. physician. If your child has ear tubes, do not place alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, "numbing" ear drops, oils of any kind (including sweet oil), any other chemical containing drop in the ear canal, or any wax softeners. Only the ear drops prescribed by our ear surgeon should be placed in the ear canal. Non-authorized ear drops may cause pain, tissue injury, and permanent sensorineural hearing loss.

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If you have any questions concerning the proper ear drop for you or your child, please contact us at (336) 273-9932.

Last revised November 28, 2011