How to Get Water Out of Your Ears

How to Get Water Out of Your Ears

Do you swim often? If yes, then you probably know what it’s like when water gets trapped in your ear canal. If you have water in your ears and you are struggling to get it out, then we are with you. Whenever we swim or take a shower – the water gets trapped in our ear canal and we get a tickling sensation in our ears. Usually, the water drains out on its own but if that doesn’t happen, you may get an ear infection.  Hence, it is important that you learn some tricks to get the water out of your ears.

Why Is Having Water in the Ears Dangerous?

Our ears have a natural defence mechanism to shield against infections from microbes. There are certain conditions that can compromise these defences and make your ears susceptible to infections. Those conditions include:

  • Excessive moisture in the ear canal.
  • Cuts, scratches, or bruises in the ear canal.
  • Allergies to certain products such as jewellery or sprays.

When the water remains trapped in the ear canal for too long, it can lead to an infection called a swimmer’s ear. It’s more common in people who already have skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis. If you have an ear infection, you will experience itching and pain in the ear canal. You may also notice fluid discharge such as pus and other symptoms such as fever, pain in the neck, face or hear and swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck.

Home Remedies to Remove Water From Your Ears

Mentioned below are some remedies that you can try when water gets trapped inside your ears.

1. Create a Vacuum in the Ear

In order to draw the water out from your ears, you will need to create a mild vacuum your ear canal. Here is how you can go about it.

  • Tilt your head to one side and rest your ear on the palm.
  • Cup your palm over the ear. Then push your palm back and forth toward your ear.
  • Flatten and cup your palm to create a suction.
  • Next, tilt your head down to drain out the water.

2. Apply a Hot Compress

This technique can be used when the water gets trapped in the eustachian tubes which are sinus passages that connect the ear to the nose.

What You Will Need

  • Hot water in a cup
  • A washcloth

How to Use

  • Take some hot water in a bowl and dip a washcloth in it.
  • Wring out the excess water from the washcloth, making sure that the cloth remains damp and warm.
  • Tilt your head to one side such that the affected ear is down and press the cloth to the outside of your ear. Leave it on your ear for about 30 seconds, then remove for a minute.
  • Do five reps. Lie down on the opposite side later.

3. Use a Hair Dryer

This technique works too. Using a blow dryer can help evaporate the water inside the ear canal.

What You Will Need

  • A hairdryer

How to Use

  • Set the hair dryer to its lowest temperature setting.
  • Hold the dryer at arm’s length. It should be at least 30 cms away from your ear.
  • Aim it at your ear while moving your head back and forth.
  • Try blowing air into the ear from different angles.

4. Try Homemade Alcohol and Vinegar Solution

Using alcohol and vinegar solution is an effective way to remove water from the ear after swimming. The mixture of alcohol and vinegar will help drain out the water from your ear and will also kill the bacteria in the ear canal.

What You Will Need

  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • An ear dropper
  • A small cup to prepare the mix

How to Use

  • Mix vinegar and rubbing alcohol in equal parts to make a cleaning solution.
  • Using a sterile dropper, pour two to three drops of this solution into your ear and rub outside your ear.
  • Wait for 20 seconds and tilt your head sideways to drain out the solution and water from your ear.

Vinegar solution

5. Sleep on Your Side

Let gravity do the job. All you will need to do is to lie down on one side on a pillow.

What You Will Need

  • A comfortable pillow
  • A towel

How to Use

  • Lie on your side for a few minutes. Place the towel on a pillow and rest your head on it.
  • Maintain that position, the water will drain out from the night.

6. Chew

If water gets stuck in the eustachian tube, do the chewing action. This moving action may help push the water lodged in the ear canals or the tubes. Here is how you can do the chewing action.

  • Pretend you are chewing something or gnawing at some fruit so that your jaws move and help clear the water.
  • Alternatively, you can chew gum for the same effect and see if that can help dislodge water.

7. Yawn

Yawning has a similar effect to chewing but with the added benefit of air pressure. Yawning can help relieve tension in your eustachian tubes. Here’s what you can do.

  • Yawn until you feel a bubble popping in the ear and you suddenly hear things better.
  • This will move the lodged water further out.
  • Then lie down or try the vacuum method to draw out the water.

8. Perform the Valsalva Maneuver

The Valsalva maneuver forces some of the air into the eustachian tubes through the nasal cavity to clear out the ear canals. Here is how you can perform Valsalva maneuver –

  • Stand in a comfortable position and inhale.
  • Pinch your nose shut and close your mouth.
  • Exert pressure in the nasal cavity by exhaling, trying to force the air out of your shut nose.
  • Exert enough pressure to feel it in your ears and keep it up until you hear a pop in the ears.
  • Try not to exert pressure beyond the threshold of pain.

9. Try Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the safe, natural remedies to get rid of water stuck in your ear. It helps drain the ear canal while also killing any microbe that might cause an infection.

What You Will Need

  • A few drops of warm olive oil in a bowl
  • An ear dropper

How to Use

  • Tilt your head in a way that your affected ear is facing upwards.
  • Use an ear dropper to pour a few drops of olive oil into the affected ear.
  • Lie down on the other side and allow the oil to stay for a while.
  • Tilt the head back down to drain the oil and water out together.

Olive oil

10. Pour in More Water

This may seem counter-intuitive or illogical to you but it can works. Using an ear dropper pour some clean water in the affected ear. Allow it to stay for a few seconds then tilt your head down to let the water drain out.

What You Should Not Do When You Have Water in Your Ears

It can be really annoying to have water lodged in the ear canals but you should not try any remedy. Mentioned below are a few things that you should avoid doing when you have got a swimmer’s ear.

  • Don’t put a cotton swab in your ear. Although people think that using q-tips can help excavate wax, water, or dirt from the ears, it can have the opposite effect. It would push the wax or water further into the ear canal or scratch the delicate surface of the inner ears causing further damage or infection.
  • Avoid stuffing cotton balls or ear plugs into the ears at night; this could push things deeper into the ear or prevent the water from draining out.
  • Avoid using earphones.
  • Do not force your fingers or fingernails into the ear canal. It can damage the delicate and sensitive skin.
  • Avoid using drying drops or hydrogen peroxide if you have a ruptured eardrum.

When to Call a Doctor

Trapped water can often be removed easily and it can even go away on its own. However, if it stays trapped for more than two or three days and you notice any signs of infections, it’s time to visit the doctor. Visit a doctor in the following circumstances:

  • If you have constant pain in the ear.
  • If you have difficulty hearing or if you hear ringing sounds in the ear.
  • If your ears have swollen and have a pus-like discharge.
  • If you have an ear infection.

Water lodged in the ears can be easily removed at home by following the methods mentioned above. However, if it stays lodged for a few days and you notice any signs of an infection, consult a doctor immediately.

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