Fluid in the ear: How to get water out of your ear

Man swimming

Have you ever had fluid in your ear? 

Experiencing ear discharge can be discomforting and alarming. Whether it's clear fluid from water trapped after swimming or an indication of an ear infection like swimmer's ear, understanding the causes and finding effective solutions is essential. 

Why use ear plugs for swimming?

After swimming or taking a bath, you might experience a sensation of blockage or fullness in your ears due to water getting stuck in the ear canals. Here is a simple guide on how to drain fluid from your ear through some remedies:

  •  Utilize a soft towel or cloth to dry your ear. Remember not to insert the cloth into the canal.
  •  Tilt your head to one side to facilitate the drainage of water. Gently tug on your earlobe to straighten the ear canal and encourage the water to flow out.
  •  Employ your hair dryer to eliminate water from your ear. Ensure that it is set to the lowest setting and direct the airflow towards your ear. Maintain a distance of at least one foot between the hair dryer and your ear.
  •  Consider trying commercially available ear drops designed to expedite drying, such as Swim Ear.
  •  Under no circumstances should you employ cotton swabs, as they can push earwax and dirt further into the ear canal. It is essential to avoid using them altogether.
  •  If you or your child has a ruptured eardrum, do not use hydrogen peroxide or drying drops.

 

Remember, if these methods do not resolve the issue or if you experience persistent discomfort, it is advisable to consult a medical professional.

How to drain fluid from middle ear at home?

The accumulation of fluid in the middle ear arises due to dysfunction in the eustachian tube. Closure of this tube can occur for various reasons, with the most prevalent being allergies, infections, or obstruction caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Here's a guide on how to drain fluid from the middle ear:

Yawning or chewing

Engage in yawning or chewing. Stimulating movement in your mouth can potentially facilitate the opening of the eustachian tubes, thereby facilitating the release of moisture.

Performing Valsalva manoeuvre

Perform the Valsalva manoeuvre. By closing your nose,sealing your lips, and exhaling forcefully, you can encourage the opening of closed eustachian tubes.

Seeking medical attention

In some instances, the presence of fluid in the middle ear may lead to ear pain. If this occurs, seeking medical attention is advisable. Your physician may recommend the insertion of a small tube, known as a tympanostomy tube, at the entrance of the eardrum. This tube helps prevent the accumulation of water in the ears, alleviates pressure in the middle ear, and promotes improved hearing ability.
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Symptoms of fluid in the ear

The symptoms can differ depending on the cause of the fluid or discharge in the ear.

You might encounter sensations of discomfort,itching,decreased hearing ability, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or a general feeling of unease along with dizziness or an increased body temperature.

What does fluid in the ear look like?

Ear discharge can have various origins. The fluid may consist of earwax, blood, or pus-like substance.

The most prevalent form of discharge is earwax, which maintains ear hygiene and health.

Other types of discharge include blood in ears, transparent fluid, or a whitish-yellow, yellow, or brown-yellow discharge. These could indicate a ruptured eardrum or an ear infection resulting from water accumulating in the ear.

It is advisable for individuals to seek medical attention if transparent fluid discharge persists for more than 24 hours.

What causes fluid in the ears?

Fluid leakage from the ear can have various causes.

If any symptoms associated with water in the ear or clear fluid drainage persist for more than 24 hours, it is advisable to seek medical attention by contacting a doctor.

When transparent fluid drains from the ear, it can be attributed to two primary causes:

Swimming/Bathing

Firstly, it may be water that has accumulated in the ear after activities like swimming or bathing.

Swimmer's ear

Secondly, it could be an indication of an ear infection known as swimmer's ear. Swimmer's ear is caused when water becomes trapped in the ear canal, leading to a mixing with the bacteria already present in the ear. This interaction can result in an increased risk of infection.

Otitis media

Otitis media, often referred to as a middle ear infection, can result in fluid discharge from the ear. Swimmer's ear can cause otitis externa, an infection of the outer ear's skin. Ear infections can cause the eardrum to rupture in some cases, resulting in ear drainage.

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