How to Get Water Out of the Ears

As we head into the hottest month of the year, you’ll be even more tempted to take a dip in the pool or make a trip to the lake. While this can provide hours of cool entertainment, there are some risks involved – like getting water trapped in the ear.

While this is usually not dangerous, it can be uncomfortable and cause a painful infection known as swimmer’s ear. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to remove the water and mitigate this risk.

Below is a guide for getting water out of the ears.

Tips for Getting Water Out of the Ears Woman with her head halfway in water

Before we explain how to get water out of the ears, we first need to cover how not to. You should never insert anything into the ear canal smaller than your finger – this includes cotton swabs. If you do, you could push obstructions deeper into the ear canal or even puncture the eardrum. Instead, you can try…

  • Tilting your head toward the affected ear. Gently tug on your earlobe to open it up so the water can drain more easily.
  • Move your jaw by chewing gum or yawning. Do this while keeping your ear tilted toward the ground so gravity can assist.
  • Take a breath, pinch your nose, close your mouth and gently exhale. This can help open your Eustachian tubes.
  • Lie on your side with you ear resting on a soft cotton towel.
  • Cup the palm of your hand over your ear to create a suction. Tilt your head to the ground while you push and release your palm against your ear, similar to how you would use a plunger to unblock a toilet.
  • Use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to blow warm air into the ear to dry the water out.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide drops to dry up the water. Note: You should not attempt this if you have an ear infection, perforated eardrum or ear tubes.

Preventing Water in the Ears

The best thing you can do for your ears while swimming or participating in other water activities is to wear ear protection. You can order custom swim plugs from your audiologist’s office, which will offer maximum comfort and protection. They are available in bright color options, and they even float for easy retrieval if they become dislodged.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Hearing Services of Santa Barbara.

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