5 simple ways to get water out of your ears

Dec, 08, 2022

Every kiwi loves a warm summer day at the beach where splashing about is your only port of call. But, there’s nothing worse than a relaxing day being ruined by a blocked ear. From botched hearing to blocked feelings in the ear, water getting stuck in the ears can be uncomfortable. You might even feel a tickling sensation inside of your ear, and that feeling may extend down to the jawbone or throat.

The good news is that water in your ear will usually drain out on its own – and if it doesn’t, there’s a range of different steps to help the process. Let’s dive into the ins and outs of removing water from your ear.

How to safely remove water from your ears

From swimming to showering, getting water in your ears can happen through exposure to almost any water. If you have a mild case of a water-blocked ear, you can try a range of different solutions that might help drain the water from your ears. Remember to never insert any foreign objects into your ear canals – this can cause injury and push ear wax deeper into your ears.  

1. Move your earlobe around

You might find yourself toying with this tip already, as most people instinctively move or tug their earlobe around when water gets in their ears. Your best bet is lying down on one side and staying still for a few minutes – this can help the liquid drain from your ear. You can also try yawning, moving your jaw around or making exaggerated chewing movements to try and wiggle the water out. 

2. Create a vacuum

Using your palms, you can create reverse pressure in the ear to act as a vacuum and suck the water out. Simply tilt your head to the side so the affected ear faces down. Cup your hand around your ear so that the palm covers most of the ear and the ear canal. Then, push the cupped palm toward the ear while slightly pressing the ear into the head before pulling away again. When you do this, your palm should flatten and you should feel a suction and release. After you do this a few times, try and tilt your head down and allow any liquid to drain out. 

3. Apply a warm compress

Soak a washcloth in warm water and squeeze out any extra liquid. Fold the cloth up and tilt your head, resting the ear on the compress. Stay there for a few minutes so the warm cloth can help promote drainage. 

4. Evaporate the water in your ear

Another interesting way to try and remove the water from your ear is to evaporate it. A lot of people use a hairdryer to do this. You can try this method at home by resting your head on a towel or pillow with the water-logged ear facing the hairdryer. Always use the hairdryer at the lowest setting, and make sure it’s held at least 30 centimetres away. You can also try pulling at the lobe to open it more and direct the air into your ear.

5. Olive oil

Another great remedy for getting water out of the ears is warm olive oil. This is a tried and tested solution for ear infections and clearing the moisture from an ear. Simply place a few drops of oil directly into the ear and lie down on your side for a few minutes. After that, sit up and tilt your head to allow any liquid to come out. 

Things you shouldn’t do to get water out of your ear

While there’s a wealth of different ways to remove excess water from your ears, it’s important to never resort to dangerous remedies. You should never use ear swabs, your fingers or anything small that can protrude into the ear canal. Sticking objects in your ear can make matters worse by adding bacteria to the area, pushing the water deeper into your ear, injuring your ear canal and even puncturing your eardrum. 

Risks of water staying in your ear too long

When water stays in the ear for too long, you’re open to developing an infection. This is generally caused by the bacteria found in the ear or water multiplying.

For people who swim in water containing high levels of bacteria (such as lakes), infections like swimmer’s ear (acute otitis externa) are more common. You’re also more likely to develop an infection from swimming if you experience chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

While your ear has a wealth of defence mechanisms to help protect it against infections, excess moisture, scratches or cuts and allergies can create ideal conditions where ailments bloom.

How can you prevent water from getting in your ears?

Even though there are some helpful at-home remedies for removing water from the ears, your best bet is to try preventative measures. You might like to use earplugs or a swim cap when you go swimming, as well as thoroughly dry the outside of your ears with a towel.

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