If your little one loves to spend time in the swimming pool, or even the bathtub, and you're worried that they have developed swimmer's ear, there are a few signs you can look for to help you decide whether and when to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Following are three important signs of swimmer's ear to keep an eye out for:
There are Complaints of Pain and Discomfort
While complaints of pain might seem to be an obvious sign of a problem, there are specific types of pain and discomfort to watch out for that would indicate a possibility of swimmer's ear. Your child may:
Regularly pull on their ear while complaining of discomfort.
Experience mild to intense itching in the ear canal.
Complains of pain when you put pressure on the tragus of their ear.
None of these signs should be used to make a swimmer's ear diagnosis at home, but they may warrant a trip to the ear, nose, and throat doctor.
You Notice Physical Changes in the Ear Area
In addition to complaints of discomfort, you may notice physical changes in the area of your child's ear that might signal a case of swimmer's ear. Upon learning that your child has ear discomfort you should look for:
Redness inside of the ear.
Swelling of the ear overall.
Clear or puss-like discharge coming from the ear.
Swollen lymph nodes around the ear.
Any of these symptoms should be taken seriously as they develop and an appointment should be made with your child's ear, nose, and throat doctor as soon as possible.
It Seems Harder to Verbally Communicate Than Normal
Another sign that your child may be suffering from swimmer's ear is that they can't seem to hear you as well as they did before. You may think your little one is ignoring you when asking them to do something, but it could just be that swimmer's ear has muffled the sounds they hear and they simply don't understand what you are saying.
If your child complains of discomfort or shows physical signs of an ear problem, ask them whether their hearing has changed and have them explain the changes to you. If they describe muffled hearing and they can't make out words clearly when they're spoke to, it may be time to consider taking a trip to the doctor.
If you're in doubt, don't hesitate to reach out to an ear, nose, and throat specialist with any questions and concerns you might have. You can even schedule a consultation appointment if you want to talk in person or have your child checked out just to be on the safe side.