Just like many ‘therapies’ out there, some are better than others. Few even can worsen the healing, like toothpaste on burns (Nope, don’t do that) or pee on jellyfish stings (Nope, don’t do that either).

Also for Surfer’s Ear there as some Urban Myths, proven to either be ineffective or even causing more harm than doing good.

Here some examples we advise you NOT to do:

  • Vinegar
    We met quite a few surfers who put vinegar in their ears to clean them. This is ok, you will not destroy your eardrum doing it once. But honestly, your ears deserve better. So some of the drop recommended above are better.
  • Pure alcohol
    Alcohol is another effective fluid against germs but not the best care for your eardrum. It is a sensitive region and even if there are not enough vessels in your ear canal to get you drunk pure alcohol is too aggressive for this part of your body.
  • Oil
    Olive oil is a cure for everything? Not quite. Due to Surfer’s Ear your ear canal is very tight. It will be harder to get the olive oil out of there than the sea water. We are not saying it harms you. It might even have a good effect if you put some drops of oil in your ear before the surf since a fatty surface rejects water. But good luck getting it back out. Olive oil can be put to one very good use (besides in the kitchen): to get insects out of your ear. Sometimes small insects get trapped in the canal. If you pour olive oil in your ear canal they will drown and slide right out.
  • Limes / Lemons
    Just a clear ‘No’!. It won’t help in Surfer’s Ear, nor in Swimmer’s Ear. “But if it doesn’t harm…?” Well, that’s exactly the point. Just forget about it.

Answered by M. von Grote, MD and M. Goettinger, MD

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