Runny ears again. How to prevent? Audiol swim?

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Scuba Instructor
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Since this summer I teached a diver open water and now we have done about 25 dives together and are doing the aow course. It is a diver that had as a child a lot of ear infections and now has an ear that needs an hearing aid. Before starting to dive he visited a doctor and the doctor said all is fine. So we started the course.
All went fine during the course. Then he bought his own equipment and he went diving in our group of buddies.

Because of it is summer here, a lot of divers will get some minor otitis externa and also this diver got it. I said you can prevent this with a mixture of vinegar, alcohol and hydrogenperoxid. I use this myself also in summer and in Mexico. Just after a day of diving, not if I don't dive, not after every dive.
The otitis externa solved without problems, but after starting diving again a runny ear appeared. He went to the doctor again, got vinegar eardrops and nothing was further wrong, it was just again an otitis externa the doctor said.
The runny ear dissapeared after a few days and diving was started again as was possible like the doctor said. It went a month well without any ear problems.
Then we did 1 dive on wednesday, 1 on saturday, 1 on sunday, 1 on monday, 2 on wednesday and swimming on thursday. And after the swimming he had a runny ear again (almost directly after swimming). We did a swim on friday. The swims were in a chlorinated pool which irritated the eyes also (most times it means too much ureum in the water). The ear was still loosing a lot of fluid, not painfull. So after a few days he contacted a doctor again. Got eardrops with antibiotics. Further nothing serious the doctor said.
So he is out of the water again. I did not feel anything strange after the dives and also did not use any drops to prevent infection.
So he is way much more sensitive for infections than I am. I have friends with sometimes otitis externa in summer, 1 had a runny ear also this summer due to bacteria in the water. But none has it so often as this diver has.
If I had otitis externa, it was painful, but no runny ear. I could go diving without problems with it. But here the ear looses fluid, but is not painfull. The doctor did not find a hole in the eardrum. There was told it was just bad luck that it happens all time again. But no advice to prevent.

But we go in december to Bali with the plan of doing 10 days unlimited diving, so think about 4 dives a day. How can this diver prevent this problems again? You won't stay out of the water due to a runny ear.

Some divers use Audiol Swim to prevent ear problems. I haven ever used it. For me works the vinegar/alcohol/peroxid, but for this diver not. Can this Audiol Swim help to prevent? What are the experiences with this?

Or will the vinegar eardrops with oil from a doctor help? These don't contain antibiotics. You don't want to use all time antibiotics of course. The doctor only says it is due to swimming and bacteria and you are sensitive for it, he will give eardrops with antibiotics for Bali if it happens there again. But between now and december he wants to dive also without earproblems of course, and you want to prevent it. For real prevention the doctor did not gave an answer, just said bad luck. Or is there no prevention possible?

We have discussed the pro ear mask with the ear caps, but this will not work in cold water as you have to cut holes in the cap and then even the thickest caps are too cold. Also he need description lenses and has bought an really expensive mask a few weeks ago. So this is in this case not an option I think.

So the question is, if you are sensitive, what works for you?
Try Home - Ear Pro, it is imho better than vinegar peroxide stuff is not good on a long term basis. I have been using the earpro since last year and its pretty good except the price. And just last month Dan SA was recommending some drops, I suspect they are similar to earpro:
My ears are incredibly sensitive to infection. A dive or swimming in a pool or the ocean will almost certainly cause an infection if I don't use ear beer

I take a container of isopropyl alcohol and add a table spoon of vinegar, then shake/mix
I have a small squirt bottle that I keep in my dive bin for use after a dive

procedure is important as well, a quick rinse will "most" of the time keep an infection away but I've had the best luck when I can keep the solution in my ears for about 5 minutes then drain

ear beer use needs to be immediately following a dive as well, if my ear dries out and I do it sometime later in the day I'll generally get an infection
I have on-going ear issues and dive regularly for work - these dives frequently require a lot of up and downs which wreck my ears. I have found that a combo of using EarShield before the dive and alcohol/vinegar after the dive works best for me. I also have a Mack's Ear Dryer which helps if I use it.


I use alcohol/vinegar ear beer
Alcohol and Vinegar solutions are not good for your ears. A major issue is they dry out the thin skin causing micro cracks and making infections easier to get the next time.
They also kill off all the good bacteria that live in your ear.
Try EarPro or even Ear Shield. They are moisturizers and prevent water from sticking in your ear in the first place, they also prevent any bad bacteria from getting a start.

They are used to coat the ear canal before the dive and they prevent any of these problems from happening BEFORE they become an issue. Kind of like really good ear plugs but they do not block the ear or affect equalizing.

This idea that you expose your ears to damage (go diving with no protection) then damage them in another way (soak them in caustic chemicals) to prevent the damage you just did from getting worse, makes no sense to me.
I also use alcohol/vinegar and hydrogenperoxid for years without problems.
This diver bought Audial Swim (with oil and teatree oil) and it is now fine for a couple of weeks. Ok, the water is now cold here and we don't do more than 1 or 2 dives a week now together, but his ears are now fine.
For Indonesia, he hopes it will also be fine with 4 dives a day over 10 days.
I think Earshield is the same as Audiol Swim.
Ear Shield and Audiol or whatever, use Tea Tree oil which in itself can cause irritation. It is also a general antimicrobial meaning it kills off everything in your ear, even the good bacteria. Ear Pro uses Oregano oil as an antimicrobial, non-caustic and targets the main bacteria and fungi that cause ear infections.

Alcohol, Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide work but they are harsh on your ears. Burn and dry the skin causing lots of other potential problems especially if doing multiple dives over a short period. They are used because there was nothing else that worked better.

Horses were also great at moving people and things around until the car came along.
I'd tend to agree with most of the above, but I'm a little concerned about your calling it a "runny" ear. My son (a competitive swimmer) gets drainage from one ear on occasion. In his case, the cause is a small hole in that ear drum. He never gets drainage from the ear with no hole.

In my son's case, really bad congestion/infection caused the affected eardrum to burst years ago. (He has Down syndrome, and goes from zero to completely congested in a matter of hours as a result of narrow air spaces.) Docs hoped it would close over on its own, but it hasn't.

Because he's a teenager who won't follow advice, ear plugs while swimming are out. Because he's always in the water without ear plugs, tubes aren't a good solution. However, his ENT is fine with things as is as long as we monitor and treat as soon as any infection shows up. We keep antibiotics on hand, but haven't had to use them since we got the standing order for them 6 months ago.

The hole in his eardrum is so small several doctors didn't see it. It took an audiologist formally testing with air pressure to confirm it existed. However, my own at-home check had me convinced: We can put ear beer or alcohol in the unaffected ear with no problem. But putting it in the ear with the hole causes immediate intense pain. (And FWIW, the ear beer seems to be preventing an issues with the unaffected ear.)

(Ear beer = 50% rubbing alcohol/50% white vinegar. There are good reasons not to use it, as stated above, but it is used by a lot of swimmers and SCUBA divers. I'm intrigued by the idea of using a pre-coating to prevent water build up. I'm assuming it's some kind of oil.)
Fair enough,
Yes, the pre-coatings are oil based. Many people just use off the shelf Olive Oil as it coats the skin creating a hydrophobic layer which prevents the water from sticking. (ie. Freshly waxed car or Rain-x) This is usually enough to prevent any bacteria or fungi in the water from staying in that nice warm moist environment and proliferating.

The reason I use the Ear Pro product is because it is made of a high grade Mineral Oil (Baby Oil) which is a much more effective and long lasting hydrophobic than Olive oil. It also has the oregano oil which I have studied a fair bit and it has been proven effective against all the bacteria and fungi that cause outer ear infections. It is also effective against red tide and many resistant strains.

I avoid any antibiotics as they are just blunt instruments.. Like killing a fly with a MAC truck.

I get upwards of two hours in the water. I use it for surfing as well as diving. I have literally not had an ear infection in 5 years now and I used to get four or five a year even with ear beer.

My ear canals are narrow due to Surfers ear bone growth as well as many infections in my early diving career.

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