Factors that may increase your risk of swimmer's ear include:

  • Swimming
  • Swimming in water with elevated bacteria levels, such as a lake rather than a well-maintained pool
  • A narrow ear canal — for example, in a child — that can more easily trap water
  • Aggressive cleaning of the ear canal with cotton swabs or other objects
  • Use of certain devices, such as headphones or a hearing aid
  • Skin allergies or irritation from jewelry, hair spray or hair dyes
Jul. 09, 2013