How to Fix Your Ears for Good

November 13, 2017

I could write for days about caring for the ears and sinuses. For now let's start with one single issue that at one time or another plagues us all. The outer ear infection, swimmers ear, or otitis externa. Something that after a lifetime of fighting I have finally conquered.


You can clearly see the black colonies of growth on a piece of skin that I removed from my ear. The skin would slough off and leave behind raw skin even more likely to get infected. 


 I battled for years with this problem. As a kid I was always in the water and for most of my life had a chronic infection in one or both of my ears. This problem got worse as I began diving daily and it really started to hinder my spearfishing. If the condition is left untreated and subjected to more soaking and pressure the infection moves to the middle ear causing otitis media. This is that feeling of fullness you get in your ears as infected fluid builds up. This takes much longer to go away and usually requires a doctor. That bubbling crackling sound you hear when you are diving on an infected ear is fluid in the middle ear. 



The key to solving this problem is prevention. After countless ENT visits and lots of useless expensive drops, a diving doctor finally recommended a preventative mix of 50% very high proof grain alcohol and 50% white vinegar. The highest percentage rubbing alcohol you can find will work as well.  I've combined this with the Mack's Ear Dryer. After every dive session, usually later that night after a shower, I put the rinse in each ear and leave it for 5 min, dump it out and then dry each ear with the dryer. Since using this method I have not had a single ear infection in 3 years. This is critical for long term tournament scouting or those live aboard trips where even when sleeping you never quite dry out. Sometimes I forget to rinse and get that telltale itchy feeling of an infection trying to start. Rinsing and drying as soon as this occurs will prevent it from getting worse and cause it to go away nearly immediately. The theory is that the alcohol displaces the water in the ear and the vinegar restores the ears natural PH. The dryer then leaves you with a crispy dry outer ear, not at all conducive to bacteria growth. The Mack's Ear Dryer can be found on Amazon.


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