The dog days of summer can be hazardous to your ears (and hearing aids if you have them). Heat is definitely one issue — especially for hearing aids — but the biggest hearing health issue is moisture.
Summer usually means sweating. And one of the best ways to cool off is jumping into the water. But … that is an opportunity for all kinds of things to enter your ear canal, including the bacteria that causes swimmer’s ear.
A term covering a broad range of moisture-related ear afflictions, swimmer’s ear is obviously common to swimmers — but really it is a concern to anyone whose ears get wet in the hot weather, which can result in your ear canal getting irritated and, in some cases, an infection taking hold.
The only real preventive solution is being diligent about drying your ears (and hearing aid too, since putting a damp one back in your ear doesn’t help). There are eardrops on the market that will chemically evaporate moisture. You can also use gravity to your advantage and “shake out” after being immersed in water (simultaneously pulling down on your earlobe helps too). A blow dryer on low heat can do the trick as well.
What you don’t want to do is stick dry things in your ears — Q-tips, tissues, fingers — in an attempt to rub things dry. This will cause abrasions on the skin inside your ear and actually make for a much better environment for infections to take hold.
If you have hearing aids, much the same applies. Don’t rub them or use any chemicals to try to dry them out. Hearing aid dryers — some models do double duty recharging batteries — are the best way to keep them dry in the muggy days of the summer.