Issues with your ears can happen suddenly - and often seem to come from nowhere. Especially during the summer months you might be just enjoying the sea on holiday, or hanging out at festivals, and then suddenly you’ve got ear pain or infection to deal with. There are lots of ways you can help to avoid challenging situations arising with your ears, including being aware of the symptoms of some of the most common summer holiday ear problems.
- Hearing loss. If a sound is too loud then it can place too much pressure on your eardrum, resulting in a perforated or ruptured eardrum. One of the symptoms of this is hearing loss and one of the major reasons why this happens is because of prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels. If you’re on holiday then there are a number of ways that your ears might be exposed to this level of noise, from fireworks through to music in a club or at a festival.
- Ear pain after a flight. If you’ve ever experienced that feeling of pressure in your ears on a flight then this is down to your Eustachian tubes. These link your middle ear, back of nose and upper throat and are responsible for regulating the pressure in your middle ear. A rapid increase or decrease in pressure (as happens during a flight) can make Eustachian tubes feel clogged and painful, especially if yours are smaller than normal.
- Ear infections. A skin infection in the ear canal - also known as otitis externa or Swimmer’s Ear - is a very common summer holiday ear issue. Even if you’re not a keen swimmer, most of us like a dip in the sea or a pool on a summer holiday and when water gets trapped in the ear, bacteria or fungus can grow. This can result in itchiness, pain, swelling and redness in the ear. Bacterial ear infections are easily treated with antibiotics. One word of warning - avoid using a cotton swab even to ‘dry’ your ears, as this tends to make the situation worse.
- Excessive mucus. Summer is not just a time of great weather and BBQs, it's also the season of allergies and hayfever. If you suffer from these and you tend to spend more time outside during your summer holidays then you might feel very blocked up with excessive mucus. If this doesn’t drain properly it can make you susceptible to viral or bacterial infections.
- Jaw pain. If the travel part of your summer holiday often makes you anxious then jaw pain could cause you problems that also affect your ears. Maybe you’re grinding your teeth at night, as you’re not really able to switch off, or you tend to clench your jaw when you’re stressed - these can both cause knock-on issues with your ears.
We all look forward to our summer holidays but these occasions can be quickly ruined by problems with your ears. Knowing the symptoms and signs to look out for makes issues easier to avoid.
Harley Street is the UK's foremost private medical centre which is dedicated to providing high-quality care for your ear, nose, throat, head & neck, and balance-related disorders. Find out more information on how Harley Street ENT can help you here.