Why water gets stuck in your ear – and the 6 best ways to get it out | The Sun

GETTING water stuck in your ear is a common problem after swimming — but few people know why it happens and how to get it out.

The issue can lead to more serious problems, including painful infections.

Dr Christie DeMason, of the University of North Carolina, said water or sweat can trickle into your ear at anytime, even if you don’t set foot in a pool.

She told Live Science: “Anytime you go swimming or if you put earbuds or even hearing aids in, things can get trapped in your ear.”

Fluids go in and out of your ears easily when taking a shower or swimming.

However, water can occasionally make it to your ear canal and get stuck.

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The tube connecting the outside of your ear to the eardrum is S-shaped and water can get stuck behind the bends.

This is particularly common if you are born with a small ear canal, she said.

Water can get stuck behind ear wax as well, which stops the orange gunk doing its normal job of maintaining ears’ acidity.

This normally helps prevent bacteria but the build up of water can turn your ears alkaline, making you more at risk of an infection.

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Dr DeMason said: “Swimmer's ear is a fancy way of saying an infection of the outer ear canal.”

The condition — known medically as otitis externa — affects around one in 10 people in their lifetime and is five times more likely if you swim regularly.

It causes redness and swelling in the ear canal, as well as pain, itchiness, discharge and temporary hearing loss in some cases.

These symptoms can persist for several months or longer without treatment, and can even take several weeks to improve with ear drops, according to the NHS.

To prevent it, experts suggest you avoid using cotton buds or putting anything else in your ears — including fingers — unnecessarily.

You can also use ear plugs or a swimming cap to cover your ears while swimming.

If it does get stuck in your ears, it is important to get it out as soon as you’ve finished exercising to minimise your risk of an infection.

The 6 best ways to get water out your ear

1. Use a hairdryer

Using a blow dryer can help evaporate the water inside your ear canal — but make sure you stick it on its lowest setting.

Dr DeMason said: “The easiest way is to put a hairdryer on a low setting and then kind of gently dry it out.”

2. Wiggle your earlobe

Gently tug at your earlobe and tilt your head towards your shoulder to shake the water out your ear.

If this doesn’t work, try shaking your head side to side while in the position.

3. Lie on your side

Gravity can help drain the water out your ear.

Try lying on your side with a towel around your head to catch droplets for a few minutes.

4. Create a vacuum

If that doesn’t work, you can try sucking it out by creating a vacuum with your hands.

Tilt your head as before, and place your cupped palm against your ear to create a tight seal.

Push your hand back and forth, flattening and cupping it, to create the vacuum.

5. Eardrops

A doctor may prescribe you eardrops after swimming.

Over-the-counter options can also soften earwax, helping water escape.

6. More water



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Despite being the cause of the problem, more water can also be the solution.

If you add a few drops of water to your ear while lying down and wait five seconds, all of it should come out when you turn over.

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