Foolproof Techniques For Removing Water From Your Ears
For many people in Reno, summer means splashing through fountains or taking a dip in the pool to escape the heat. While thats a great way to cool off, if water becomes trapped in your ears, it can lead to infection and possibly even impact your hearing. We have some tips that will help you get rid of water from your ears and prevent health complications.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Can I get swimmers ear from chlorinated pool water?
- How much swimming is too much swimming?
- Am I more likely to get swimmers ear if I have small eustachian tubes?
- Should my baby wear ear plugs in the bath and in pools? Are those safe?
- Can repeated infections cause serious hearing loss?
- Can I get swimmers ear from taking showers?
When Should I Worry About A Blocked Ear
If youre on day two of a blocked ear, you might start thinking about possible causes. Maybe youll examine your behavior from the previous couple of days: were you doing anything that might have resulted in water getting trapped in your ear, for example?
You might also think about your health. Are you experiencing the kind of discomfort and pain that might be associated with an ear infection? If thats the case, you might want to make an appointment with your doctor.
Those questions are really just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of possible causes for a blocked ear:
- Water trapped in the ear canal or eustachian tube: Water and sweat can become trapped in the tiny areas of your ear with alarming ease. .
- Build-up of earwax: Earwax can cause blockages if its not properly draining or if it becomes compacted, hardening in place.
- Infection: An ear infection can cause inflammation and fluid buildup that eventually obstructs your ears.
- Sinus infection: Because your sinuses, throat, and ears are all connected, a sinus infection can cause excess fluids to become lodged in your ears .
- Growth: Certain kinds of growths, lumps, and bulges can cause a blocked feeling in your ears .
- Allergies: Certain pollen allergies can trigger the bodys immune system reaction, which in turn produces fluid and swelling.
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Infection And Other Complications
If an infection develops, a person may experience intense itching and increasing pain. The ear may become too painful to touch. A person may also experience fluid drainage or a discharge of pus. A severe infection may lead to fever, swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, and pain in the face, neck, or side of the head.
Complications of swimmers ear may include temporary hearing difficulties and pain. Rare complications include long-term infection, deep tissue infection, bone and cartilage damage, and infection that spreads to the brain or nerves.
Otitis Media In Adults
Otitis media is another name for a middle ear infection. It means an infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.
Middle ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection, you should see your healthcare provider for treatment. If they happen repeatedly, you should see an otolaryngologist or an otologist .
What are the types of middle ear infections?
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Who is more likely to get a middle ear infection?
You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:
- Smoke or are around someone who smokes
- Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms
- Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection
What causes a middle ear infection?
The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle ear infection.
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So What Can You Do Yourself
From experience the most effective methods to clear water out of your ears are:
- Laying down and let the water drain
- Spend time in an air-conditioned room since the dry air will help evaporate the water
- Carefully using a hair dryer or warm towel to lay on in order to warm the air and evaporate the water
A lot of new scuba divers are prone to having water stuck in their ears for a few hours after their confined sessions or first ocean dives. This is often caused by their prolonged efforts to equalise their ears. This can sometimes lead to slight inflammation of the ear drum and canal or swelling of the eustachian tube. This can lead to narrower passages or water getting stuck due to its surface tension.
In most cases my advice is to lay down on that side and let it drain naturally or use the air-conditioner for a few hours. Especially diving in tropical Thailand, where the humidity is often in the high nineties. You can read more tips on how to get rid of blocked ears after diving.
You asked how long can water stay in your ear? In short, it should not stay in your ear for more than a few hours. If any symptoms arise such as itchiness and discomfort after several hours, you might be getting swimmers ear. In this case, consult a doctor.
Water In Ear With Pain
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On the issue of water in the ear causing some pain, we have had complaints from a number of patients. Some complain about feeling water in-ear and it becomes painful when blowing their nose, others mention jaw pain, among other symptoms. A little pain might be ok but too may be an indication of a more serious problem.
If you have water in-ear with pain, we recommend you see an ENT specialist for professional diagnosis since the pain could be due to water, plugged ears that might strain eardrum, or other infections.
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Potential Dangers Of Having Water In Your Ear
Water in the ear will often dissipate on its own with little intervention being required. However, if it persists and is left untreated, it can cause some unpleasant conditions. The structure of the ear provides a dark and damp environment where fungi or bacteria can thrive and this can lead to infection. This infection, also known as otitis externa, can cause swelling, irritation and discomfort.
There are a number of reasons, in addition to the presence of water, why we get swimmers ear. Ear wax provides a natural defense against bacteria, so over-cleaning with swabs can remove too much wax and lessen those defenses. Having a foreign object stuck in your ear can also lead to infection, as can a break in the skin, such as a scratch or an abrasion from a cotton swab. An allergic reaction to chemicals in cosmetic products like hairspray may also cause a reaction leading to an infection.
If your ear has become infected, you may notice an itching sensation or pain that increases when you pull on your earlobe or chew. You may also feel that your ear is blocked. If you experience reduced hearing, see a medical professional immediately. In some cases, you may see pus or fluid draining from the ear or develop a fever or swollen lymph nodes.
Ways To Get Water Out Of Your Ears
Now that were entering what is traditionally the hottest time of the year in Pennsylvania, many are seeking out water activities to cool off. Its a great way to beat the heat and humidity, but if you arent careful, water can get into your ears and become trapped, causing an infection. Left untreated, you might even experience temporary hearing loss. Needless to say, its important to remove as much water as possible from your ears in order to avoid complications such as these.
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Protect Your Ears From Injury
The ears are delicate, which is why it is important to be careful about at-home remedies. Never put your finger, ear swabs, or other objects in the ear canal. Placing objects into the ear can cause the problem to worsen for several reasons:
- Introducing bacteria that could increase the risk of an ear infection
- Push the water so it moves deeper into the ear
- Injure the ear canal
- Puncture the eardrum
If you often have ear problems after swimming, a few preventive steps can be followed. Try using a swim cap or earplugs when you are in the water. Additionally, be thorough about drying the outside of the ear after swimming or showering.
Also, be aware that sweating while wearing earbuds can also lead to moisture problems within the ears if the sweat is trapped. If you are sweating, it is best to remove the earbuds.
What Is Swimmers Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a redness or swelling , irritation, or infection of your outer ear canal.
The ear canal is a tube that goes from the opening of the ear to the eardrum. When water stays in your ear canal, germs can grow.
This is a painful condition that often happens to children, and to swimmers of all ages. It does not spread from person to person.
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How Do I Get Water Out Of My Ear
Everyone has had it happen at one time or another: you get out of the pool after a swim and feel like water is trapped in your ears, causing problems with both hearing and comfort. Even though swimming is often the reason for water in the ears, fluid can get trapped in your ears any time you are exposed to water.
Most of the time, the sensation stays within the ear area. But some people find that the feeling extends into the throat or jawbone as well. Give it a bit of time, and it is likely that the water will drain out naturally.
Can Swimmer’s Ear Be Prevented
You may be able to prevent swimmer’s ear by using over-the-counter acetic acid drops after you’ve finished swimming for the day. Dry your ears well with a clean towel after swimming, bathing, or showering.
Keep all objects out of your ear canals including cotton swabs unless your doctor has told you it’s OK to use them.
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Water In The Middle Ear Water Behind Eardrums
For people who have undergone myringotomy, a surgical procedure where an incision is made on the eardrum to help drain fluid and thus bringing pressure balance on the outside and inside the ear, have had a small tube placed in their eardrum to correct Eustachian tube dysfunction or have perforated eardrums, water can get into middle ear i.e. they can have water trapped behind the eardrum.
This often happens after swimming, diving or showering and when it happens some of the water in middle ear symptoms you will have will include pain, dizziness , muffled hearing, etc.
Sometimes, suffering from otitis media, especially otitis media with effusion can result to thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear which will not be water for this case but you will feel much or less the same as having water in your middle ear.
Younger children tend to suffer from otitis media with effusion more often than adults since their eustachian tubes are shorter, floppier with smaller openings and get colds more frequently.
Do not try any of the discussed ways or remedies for removing water from the ear when it comes to clearing water from behind eardrum. Visit a doctor for cure or treatment in case of any infection or removal of water from your middle ear. Doing it on your own could harm your delicate middle ear.
When To See A Doctor
Water in the ear is usually not a problem. Most of the time, you can easily drain trapped fluid using one of the methods mentioned above. However, there are some circumstances in which you will want to see your doctor for example, if the trapped fluid has led to an ear infection. Other signs to go see your doctor include:
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Precaution When You Have Water In The Ear Canal
We have told you what to put in ear to get water out. Even if you are desperate and feeling so uncomfortable because you have an ocean, river, or pool water in your ear canal, which you feel could cause infection, be patient. Here are some important precautions you must observe.
- Never want to use Q-tips to dry or remove anything from your ears as this can injure your eardrum, ear canal or push earwax deep further or towards your tympanic membrane .
- Do not insert anything into your ear including your keys, pens, fingers, etc. since it can cause infections and injuries.
- Dry your ears well after getting out of the water using a soft piece of cloth.
- See a doctor in case of swelling, redness, hearing loss , itchiness or yellow-green pus from the ear.
- Do not use headphones until you have gotten rid of all the water in your ears.
- Opting for remedies to remove the water inside the ear that does not involve alcohol will be ideal if you have little wax since your ear canal skin might dry up.
What Is The Treatment For Chronic Swimmers Ear
Before you begin treatment, your doctor may need to clear any discharge or debris in the ear. This procedure uses suction or an ear curette, which has a scoop on the end.
For most cases of chronic swimmers ear, treatment will begin with antibiotic eardrops to cure a bacterial infection. If your ear is very swollen, your doctor may have to insert a cotton or gauze wick into your ear to allow the eardrops to travel into the ear canal.
Treatments with antibiotic eardrops typically last for 10 to 14 days. Its important to finish the course of eardrops, even if the pain and symptoms subside before the end of the course.
Other treatments for chronic swimmers ear include:
- corticosteroids to lessen inflammation
- vinegar eardrops to help restore your ears normal bacterial balance
- antifungal eardrops for infections caused by fungi
- acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain or discomfort
Your treatment may be modified to include oral antibiotics, especially if eardrops havent helped. Your doctor may also prescribe pain relievers to relieve pain that has increased in severity or has lasted a long time.
High doses of IV antibiotics treat cases of chronic swimmers ear with malignant otitis externa, especially in older adults or people with diabetes.
During your treatment, you will get the best results if you do not:
You can reduce your risk of developing chronic swimmers ear by following these practices:
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How Do Medical Professionals Diagnose Swimmer’s Ear
The doctor can easily make a diagnosis of swimmer’s ear after taking a brief history and performing a limited physical examination. Pain produced by gently pulling on the ear as the doctor attempts to examine the ear canal is a likely sign of swimmer’s ear.
- The doctor may look at the ear canal with a lighted scope called an otoscope. With this, if swimmer’s ear is present the doctor can see if the ear canal is swollen, red, or sometimes coated with a whitish material called an exudate.
- The doctor may examine the drainage from the ear under a microscope to determine if bacteria or fungi are causing the infection. This allows the doctor to prescribe either an antibacterial or an antifungal medicine.
- X-rays and blood tests are rarely needed.
How Do You Get Rid Of Swimmer’s Ear
Treatment for swimmer’s ear includes home remedies such as avoiding water exposure , applying heat to the affected ear to control pain, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.
Medical treatment for swimmer’s ear include medications prescribed for symptom relief cleaning the affected ear and at times, antibiotics, topical ear remedies, or acidifying, antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory agents.
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How To Get Water Out Of Your Ears
Good hearing is something that many of us take for granted. However, there are some common, everyday situations that, if left unchecked, could impact our hearing health. One of those is getting water in the ear. It happens easily enough in many situations but, thankfully, there are five easy solutions:
- Gently tug at your earlobe while tilting your head down towards your shoulder
- Lie on your side for a few minutes
- Yawn and/or chew: both tend to open up the eustachian tubes
- Warm air from a hair dryer on its lowest setting and held around one foot from the ear
- Try over-the-counter medications but do always read the label and consult your doctor if you have any doubts
*These tips have been approved by hear.coms lead audiologist, Dr. Hope Lanter, Au.D.