We need them to hear, we need them to equalize when scuba diving, and they make our faces look less weird. All important functions, no? Our ears perform incredibly important functions for us, and while they are resilient and sturdy, it’s important that we take care of them. When we’re scuba diving, it’s even more imperative that our aftercare is done right so that we don’t have any equalization issues or pain as the week progresses.
So without further ado, here are our Top 3 Tips To Take Care Of Your Ears When Scuba Diving!
Rinse out your ears with warm water after a dive
You know how a salty towel never dries? In the same way, if you don’t rinse your ear with fresh water after a dive, salt water can stay inside your ear and create the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to grow. If you’re close to a shower, turn your ears in the direction of the shower and use warm water to rinse your ears out. If you’re on a liveaboard or day boat and don’t have access to a shower, mix cold and hot water in a cup from the beverage station and pour it into each ear to rinse them out.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT use cotton swabs
How much clearer can we say this? Ear doctors (also known as a otolaryngologist, for all you fancy people) and scuba instructors alike will tell you to never use cotton swabs to clean out your ears. We get that it’s weirdly refreshing to clean your ears out with them, but did you know they do more damage than good? Cotton swabs can actually push wax further into your ear instead of taking it out, obstructing your ear canal. Your ear drum can be reached with a cotton swab as well, so pushing too hard can actually puncture it. Rinsing your ears out with warm water is just as effective as it softens and loosens your ear wax without risking damaging your ears, so listen to the doctor and opt out of cotton swabbing.
Vinegar and rubbing alcohol make for the best drops
If warm water isn’t enough to keep your ears healthy, our homemade ear drop mixture will do the trick! While you are most welcome to buy ear drops from the pharmacy, these aren’t as cost effective as a homemade mixture and normally contain glycerin, which can leave an oily residue behind. We like to make a 50/50 mix of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol dries your skin while the vinegar balances the pH, so you can dry your ears without over drying. Most people have both items at home anyways, so make a small batch before you go on a trip and put it in a travel friendly bottle before your next trip and , voila! Clean, happy, healthy ears.
So there you have it! Though this definitely isn’t our sexiest blog post, it’s an important one, so we hope you learned something and we’ll see you on Roatan soon to put those tips to good use!