Especially in summer, it happens that a person has water trapped in the ears after a bath or shower. This can be unpleasant, but if the water is not removed (or if it doesn't come out on its own), you may have to deal with an inner ear and ear canal infection, otitis externa, also known as swimmer's otitis. Fortunately, it's easy to remove water with just a few tricks. If home treatment doesn't work and you start to experience pain, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Method 1 of 2: Using Home Treatments
Step 1. Use a homemade solution made with half a measure of vinegar and isopropyl alcohol
In addition to helping to extract the water left in your ears, this solution will also keep your ears from getting infected. Make a solution that is made up of equal parts isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar, then use an eyedropper to gently drop it into the affected ear several times. Then carefully remove the excess. You can ask an adult to help you apply the solution.
- The acid in this mixture acts to break down the cerumen (ear wax) that may be holding water in the ear canal.
- And the alcohol will help the water evaporate faster.
- Don't do this if you have a perforated eardrum.
Step 2. Create a vacuum in the ear
Tilt the affected side down over your palm and use your hand to gently press it in and out (like a plunger) until water starts to come out. The movement will create a suction that will draw the water out until it falls into the palm of your hand. Do not do this with your ear tilted up, otherwise you can push the water further into the canal.
- An alternative is to tilt the ear down, place a finger inside it to create a vacuum, pressing and withdrawing the finger quickly. The water should come out in no time. Note that this is not the most recommended method as it can scratch your ear canal and cause an infection. If your palm doesn't work and you need to use your finger, make sure it's clean and your fingernails cut.
- Another alternative is, during the process, to massage the ear in a clockwise direction. Doing so will help remove surface wet wax. Something that can be particularly helpful if the substance is damaging your hearing.
Step 3. Dry it
Although you may not believe the dryer's effectiveness in removing water from the ears, its usefulness has been proven by some people. Simply set the dryer to its lowest heat setting, or even coldest, and keep a foot distance between it and your head, directing air into your ear until you feel the water come out. Just be careful that the air is not too hot or too close to the ear to avoid burns.
Another option is to use the dryer through the opening of the ear rather than into the ear. If it's hot, dry air evaporates the water, pushing its vapor out
Step 4. Apply over-the-counter medications to remove water
These medications can be found in pharmacies and usually contain alcohol, which evaporates quickly. Drop the medicine into the ear as recommended in the package insert and tilt your head down to empty the affected area.
As recommended for the homemade solution, you can enlist the help of an adult to apply the dropper
Step 5. Dry it with a cloth
Gently wipe the ear with a soft towel to get rid of some of the water, tilting it down towards the cloth. Just be careful not to press the tissue into your ear, otherwise you might end up pushing water back into the ear.
Step 6. Tilt your head to the side
Another trick you can try is to stand up and tilt your head so that the affected ear is facing the floor. Try jumping on one foot just to drain the water. Pulling the earlobe to widen the canal or pulling the top of the ear to the side of the head can also help remove water.
You can also skip the jumping part and simply tilt your head to the side and wait
Step 7. Lie on your side with your ear down
Gravity can help to deflate it naturally. Lie down with the affected side tilted down and use a pillow to relax. Stay in this position for a few minutes. Watch television or find another way to be entertained if necessary.
If you notice that you have water in your ear at night, make sure your ear is tilted down when you go to bed. This can increase the chances that the water will drain on its own while you sleep
Step 8. Chew
Pretend you are chewing some food to move the jaw bones around the ears. Tilt your head to the side that has no water and then quickly tilt it to the other side. Also try chewing gum to see if this can displace the troublesome water. The movement of chewing can help release water that gets trapped in your Eustachian tube, which is part of your inner ear.
Try chewing while tilting your head with the affected side down for the greatest effect
Step 9. Yawn
It is sometimes possible to pop the water "bubble" simply by yawning. Any movement that affects the water inside the ear can relieve tension and release it. If you feel a "pop" or water movement, yawning may have had a positive effect.
Step 10. See a doctor if necessary
You should see a doctor if you start to experience pain from water trapped in your ear. Also, be aware that a middle ear infection can feel as if there is water trapped in it and will need to be treated as well. However, the accompanying pain is very likely a sign that the water has caused the infection known as swimmer's otitis. If you experience the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately:
- Yellowish or greenish or malodorous discharge from the ear;
- Earache that increases when you pull the ear;
- Hearing loss;
- Itching in the ear or ear canal.
Method 2 of 2: Preventing Future Problems
Step 1. Dry your ears after swimming
After entering the water, whether from the sea or swimming pool, or after getting out of a simple bath, you should be careful and keep your ears and ears dry. Wipe the water from the outer ear with a clean towel and also the area closest to the canal. Tilt your head to one side or the other to remove excess water.
It's true that some people are more likely to get water trapped in their ears than others, as it depends so much on the shape of the organ. If you have this tendency, you need to be very careful
Step 2. Avoid using flexible rods to clean them
You may find that a swab helps with cleaning, whether it's to remove water, wax, or a foreign object, but the swab actually has the opposite effect and can push the water or wax in even further. It can also scratch the inside of the ear, causing more pain.
A tissue can also scratch the inside of the ear
Step 3. Avoid wearing ear plugs or cotton balls when you have water stuck in your ear
Using pads or cotton when sleeping can have a similar effect to using cotton swabs if water or other substances are trapped in that area, pushing the matter to the bottom. If you have earache or feel water trapped in your ear, avoid using these items for a while.
You should also avoid wearing headphones until the pain subsides
- Do not poke or scratch the inside of the ear to avoid getting infections.
- Be careful not to hurt your ear.
- You can find in many pharmacies a product that contains 95% alcohol, designed to remove water from the ears. It's used the same way, but it's more effective than just using water (it can cost more than alcohol and does the same job).
- Blow your nose. Changing the air pressure usually solves the problem.
- Pour a cap filled with isopropyl alcohol into the affected organ, with the ear facing upwards. Then tilt your head so that your ear is facing down. The water should come out right away.
- Tilting your head to one side and then the other quickly can also solve the problem.
- Do not insert foreign objects into the ear. Swabs and other items can accumulate materials deep in the ear canal, scratching the skin and causing infections.
- Consult a physician if none of these tips are effective.
- Isopropyl alcohol is for topical use only and should not be ingested. Call 911 immediately if this happens.
- Isopropyl alcohol may burn slightly on contact with the skin.
- Be careful not to lose your balance when jumping. Support yourself on a chair or handrail.
- These methods are likely to leave you with a mixture of hot wax and water coming out of your ear.