Tips for Summer Ear Protection form Specialist Dr. Mark Shikowitz

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Summer activities including flying and swimming, can cause serious ear damage particularly among kids. Dr. Mark Shikowitz, noted ENT, offers tips on how to protect the family's ears during summer activities.

The official start of summer is around the corner. Before you jump off that diving board or takeoff to your summer vacation destination, protect your ears with these tips from Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat) expert Dr. Mark J. Shikowitz. Dr. Shikowitz is a Professor of Otolaryngology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Vice Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Healthy Swimming Guidelines: Hitting the pool or the beach can expose you to the risk of developing Swimmer’s ear—a painful infection of the outer ear and ear canal caused by excessive water exposure. These tips can help prevent ear infections from putting a damper on your summer fun.

  •     Use ear plugs such as BioEars to prevent water from entering the ear canal. BioEars, soft silicone earplugs, are the first earplugs with exclusive Microban® antimicrobial technology, which prevents earplug degradation. BioEars are available at Rite Aid and other fine stores.
  •     If water becomes trapped in the ear, try the world’s first-ever water absorbing earplugs called ClearEars. ClearEars should be inserted into the ears after water activities and held in place until they gently expand to give a snug, comfortable fit. Safe for children and adults, ClearEars provide convenient, on the spot relief in 5-10 minutes. ClearEars are available at CVS, Walgreens, and Duane Reade and for a suggested retail price of $5.99 for a package of 5 pair.
  •     If ear pain persists, see a doctor who can prescribe antibiotic drops to bring down the inflammation.
  •     Following treatment of swimmers ear, avoid exposure to water for several days. Allowing water into the ear canal will prolong the healing process.

Tips for Plane Trips: During takeoff and landing, rapid changes in air pressure can cause pain in the ears. Plane-proof your ears by following these simple steps.

  •     Take a decongestant 24 hours before flying to keep air passages and ears clear.
  •     Chew gum or drink fluids through altitude changes during flight to equalize the pressure in the middle ear.
  •     Use a set of EarPlanes, comfortable earplugs, for take-offs and landings or altitude changes during the flight to equalize the pressure in the middle ear. EarPlanes can be found in all drug, discount and airport stores.
  •     Hold the nose and swallow to alleviate ear pressure in the middle ear.
  •     Use ¼ percent Neo-Synephrine nasal spray shortly after boarding the aircraft and again 45 minutes before the aircraft is due to land to keep the nasal passages open.
  •     Try not to fly when you have a cold or upper respiratory infection, as you are more likely to experience ear problems.

For More Information on ClearEars, BioEars, or EarPlanes please log onto


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Allen Berger
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