If your child’s ear hurts, tug on the earlobe on the painful side. If a gentle tug elicits an “ouch,” it is likely swimmer’s ear (called otitis externa), and it’s worth seeing the doctor for antibiotic eardrops. Your child should stay out of the water for the next five days. Inner ear infections hurt more on the inside; he’ll likely have a fever and feel lousy. Be sure to see your doc.
Answer excerpted from You Raising Your Child