Brits planning their summer holidays are being warned of the effects of dirty hotel swimming pools on their hearing. Research commissioned by hearing aid giant, Amplifon, found that sudden hearing loss can be brought on by exposure to dirty pools or water that has been over chlorinated.
Barry Downes, professional services manager, said: “Swimmers have significantly more ear infections than non swimmers because of high bacteria and virus levels in pools, coupled with the fact germs are becoming increasingly resistant to chlorine used to disinfect the pools.
“Dirty pool water can cause Otitis Externa, noticeable by pain, itchiness, a build up of pus and irritation of the ear drum. Another condition, known as ‘swimmer’s ear’ is an infection of the outer ear canal that may require antibiotic treatment.
“However, over chlorination used to kill off harmful bacteria can also react with the ear and lead to inflammations causing a degree of hearing loss.”
Amplifon has given these practical tips to bear in mind before taking the plunge this summer:
1. Talk a close look before you jump in – you should be able to see through at least ten feet of water
2. Foamy or bubbling water at the pool’s edge is a sign of potential trouble – usually pollen or bacteria
3. Purchase some water repellent ear plugs to keep chlorine from the sensitive parts of the ear
4. Be wary of babies wearing nappies in the pool
5. Parasites and bacteria love the warmer water of heated pools and jacuzzis – be extra careful in warmer water
6. Carefully dry out your ears after swimming – a warm hairdryer can be useful 7. Think twice if you have seen pets take a dip in the outdoor pool
8. A cheap pH tester will check the pool has the correct level of chlorine. pH in a pool should be between 7.2 and 7.6
: Research undertaken January 2009 into triggers and influencers of hearing loss and hearing loss treatment. Sudden hearing loss due to exposure to dirty pool water was identified by in-depth focus groups consisting of respondents with hearing loss aged between 55-90 and carers aged between 30-75.
– There are almost 9 million hearing-impaired in the UK
– Approximately 2.5 million are below the age of 60
– Over 8 million are classified as having mild or moderate loss
– 2 million have a hearing aid
– 1.4 million use it regularly
Amplifon employs 550 people – comprising 150 Registered Hearing Aid Dispensers and 400 support staff. In the UK there are 2.2m people using hearing aids. The NHS supplies 800,000 units and the private sector 200,000 units per year. Amplifon is the number one dedicated private provider of hearing aids in the UK – with 23% of the market share. The private hearing aid market in the UK is worth £240m. The company supplies the most innovative digital hearing aids from the world’s leading brands.