We all experience water in our ears from time to time. It happens during baths and showers and is very common for swimmers. However, it can lead to inflammation and infection of the ear canal. The most common cause of the infection is bacteria such as streptococcus, pseudomonas, and staphylococcus. Water in the ear is aggravating and can also be harmful to your hearing health. Here is what you can do about water in your ears.
The symptoms of water in the ear begin mild with itching and a slight redness within the infected ear. The problem gradually gets worse with an increase in pain and itching as well as discharge from the ear. Ultimately the pain becomes intense, the canal is completely blocked, and the face and possibly the lymph nodes begin to swell.
Removing Water From Your Ear
If you have water in your ear, here are ways for safely removing the irritating liquid:
- Jiggle your earlobe. You might be able to shake the water from your ear by gently pulling on the earlobe and shaking.
- Use gravity. Lie on your side and let the water slowly drain from your ear onto a towel.
- Create a vacuum. Tilt head sideways and rest ear into cupped palm. Push hand back and forth in rapid motion while covering the ear cupping your palm as you pull away.
- Hot compress. Applying a compress can release the water trapped in the eustachian tubes.
- Blow dryer. Set the dryer on the lowermost setting and hold about a foot away from the ear. The heat from the dryer can help to evaporate the water inside the ear canal.
- Apply a few drops per ear. Alcohol helps to evaporate water. It also helps to eradicate the growth of bacteria, which in turn helps to prevent infections.
- Hydrogen peroxide. This solution can clear debris and earwax which may be trapping water inside the ear.
- Olive oil. Warm olive oil and place a few drops in the ear. It can help to prevent infection in the ear as well as repel water out.
- The movement of the mouth can open the eustachian tubes and let the stuck water come out.
- Valsalva maneuver. Close mouth and gently squeeze your nostrils shut with fingers while listening for a popping sound which means the Eustachian tubes are open.
- Warm steam helps to release water from the middle ear through Eustachian tubes.
- OTC medication. OTC eardrops are alcohol-based and can help to reduce moisture in the outer ear canal. They also kill bacteria and remove debris.
Of course, the best way to handle ears clogged with water is through prevention. Here are a few measures to take in the prevention of water and the bacteria it contains, from entering your ears:
- Avoid swimming in contaminated pools
- Wear a swim cap
- Wear earplugs
- Dry ears thoroughly once out of water
Remember that water in the ear is usually not dangerous, but if left unaddressed, the following problems may occur:
- Temporary hearing loss
- Long-term infections
- Deep tissue infection
- Bone and cartilage damage
- Other widespread diseases.
If you have any additional questions about hearing loss or your hearing health, please feel free to contact our office!