Swimming and other water activities are very refreshing and are enjoyed by all, but it can be a nuisance when water gets stuck in your ear canal. Water in the ear can cause discomfort, muffled hearing, and even infections if left untreated.
While some people may naturally let water drain out of their ears, others may need to take extra steps for it to be removed. Fortunately, there are several simple and safe ways to get water out of your ear that you can try at home. In this blog, we’ll discuss some effective methods and explain how to unclog ears.
How Does Water Get Stuck In The Ear?
There are various ways water can get stuck in your ear, and it can be an uncomfortable and even painful experience. It often happens when water gets trapped in the ear canal during swimming, bathing, or showering. Sometimes the water can drain out on its own, but other times it can get trapped, leading to a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. Other causes of water getting stuck in the ear can include earwax buildup, sinus infections, and changes in air pressure, such as during air travel or scuba diving. Knowing the possible causes of water getting stuck in the ear can help you prevent it from happening and take the necessary steps to get it out.
How To Get Water Out Of Your Ears
There are several distinct ways that you can try to get water out of your ear.
Listed below are some of the effective ways:
- Using Gravity: Tilt your head to the side with the affected ear facing down, and gently tug on the earlobe to encourage the water to drain out.
- Valsalva Maneuver: Close your mouth and pinch your nose, then gently exhale. The pressure created in your ears can help dislodge the water.
- Applying Pressure: Create a vacuum by placing the palm of your hand over the affected ear, pressing it gently, and then quickly removing it. The suction created can help pull the water out.
- Heat: Applying a warm compress or blowing warm air from a hair dryer on low setting near the ear can help evaporate the trapped water.
- Over-The-Counter Ear Drops: There are ear drops available at drugstores that can help break down earwax or dry out the trapped water.
If the water stays trapped for more than a day or if you experience pain, swelling, or discharge from the ear, it’s important to see a doctor as it could be a sign of an infection or other underlying condition.
How Long Can Water Stay In Your Ear?
The duration for which water can stay trapped in the ear varies depending on factors such as the amount of water in the ear, the size and shape of the ear canal, and the individual’s ability to naturally expel the water. In most cases, water trapped in the ear will naturally drain out within a few hours or days, or at most, within a week. However, in some cases, the water can remain trapped for an extended period and lead to infections such as Swimmer’s Ear. If you experience discomfort or other symptoms of trapped water in your ear, it is recommended to seek medical attention.
If the water remains trapped in the ear even after 2 to 3 days or if your ear starts to show signs of infection, you need to consult your physician right away.
It Sounds Like Water In My Ear But No Water – Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a medical condition that causes a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in the ears. It can affect people of all ages and is often associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors including water being trapped in the ear, exposure to loud noises, ear infections, and even certain medications.
While it is not typically a serious condition, tinnitus can be quite disruptive and can interfere with a person’s ability to concentrate or sleep. Treatment for tinnitus typically focuses on managing symptoms and identifying and addressing any underlying causes. Some people find relief from tinnitus through therapies like sound therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
How To Drain Fluid From Middle Ear At Home?
Here are a few potential ways to have the fluids drained from the middle ear at home:
- Try to pop your ears by chewing, yawning, drinking water, or pushing pressure against the ears by holding your nose and a closed mouth.
- OTC painkillers can also be very helpful in such situations, such as ibuprofen.
- Using a warm compress to be placed and lightly pressed against your ear is another effective way.
- If none of this works at home, then a physician needs to be consulted for prescription medications or a myringotomy.
Feels Like My Ear Is Draining But Nothing Comes Out
One of the most common concerns that people face when it comes to water being trapped in the ear is that they feel as if water is draining out of their ear but actually, nothing comes out.
The accumulation of fluid in the ear occurs due to the entrapment of buildup in the tissues and tubes. This is not the same as earwax, which is sticky and safeguards the ears. It can result in a sensation of pressure on the eardrum or a feeling of water being trapped inside. However, if it is caused by an infection or some other medical condition, you may experience symptoms such as pain, swelling, fever, and congestion or runny nose.
Water trapped in the ear can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience, but there are several effective methods for safely removing it. By following these tips and being proactive about ear care, you can help prevent water from becoming trapped in your ear in the future.
It is important to address the issue promptly to avoid complications such as infection or hearing damage. If you have tried these methods and the water remains trapped, or if you experience pain, fever, or other symptoms, it is best to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More