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How to Get Water Out of Your Ear: A Comprehensive Guide



How to Get Water Out of Your Ear

Getting water trapped in your ear is a common yet often annoying experience that can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Whether it occurs after swimming, showering, or during any water-related activity, the feeling can range from slightly uncomfortable to downright painful. Not only does it feel strange and sometimes leads to hearing impairment, but if the water is not removed promptly, it could lead to infections such as swimmer’s ear. This comprehensive guide will explore various safe and effective methods to get water out of your ear, preventive measures, and when it’s necessary to seek medical attention.

Understanding the Ear’s Anatomy

Before diving into solutions, it’s crucial to understand the ear’s anatomy to appreciate why water gets trapped and how to address it effectively. The human ear is divided into three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear includes the part you can see (the pinna) and the ear canal. The problem of trapped water typically occurs in the ear canal, a narrow tube that ends at the eardrum. The ear canal has a natural curve, making it easy for water to get trapped.

Safe Methods to Remove Water from Your Ear

Gravity and Position

One of the simplest methods to remove water from your ear is by utilizing gravity. Tilt your head towards the affected side and gently pull on your earlobe. Jumping with the tilted head can also help dislodge the trapped water. Alternatively, lying on your side with the affected ear on a soft, absorbent towel can allow the water to slowly drain out.

Creating a Vacuum

Creating a vacuum can help to pull the water out. Tilt your head sideways and rest your ear on the palm of your hand, creating a tight seal. Gently push your hand back and forth towards your ear in a rapid motion, flattening and cupping the ear. After a few pushes, tilt your head down to allow the water to drain.

Using a Warm Compress

Applying a warm compress can help to open the Eustachian tubes (which connect the middle ear to the throat) and allow the trapped water to drain. Soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring out the excess, and then apply it to the affected ear while lying on your side. Keep it in place for about 30 seconds, then remove it for a minute. Repeat this process four to five times. It can help to relieve the discomfort and encourage the water to drain.

Evaporation Techniques

Using a blow dryer on its lowest setting can help to evaporate the trapped water. Hold the dryer about a foot away from your ear and direct the airflow towards the ear canal. Ensure to move the dryer back and forth rather than keeping it in one spot to avoid burning. Alternatively, lying on your side with the affected ear exposed to air can naturally help the water evaporate over time.

Over-the-Counter Solutions

There are over-the-counter (OTC) solutions available, such as ear drops made specifically for removing water. These typically contain a mixture of alcohol and vinegar. The alcohol helps to evaporate the water, while the vinegar can prevent the growth of bacteria. It’s important to follow the instructions on the package for safe use.

Preventative Measures

Ear Plugs or Swimming Caps

When engaging in water activities, wearing earplugs or a swimming cap can help prevent water from entering the ear canal in the first place. There are various types of earplugs designed for water use, so it’s essential to find ones that fit well and are comfortable for you.

Avoid Inserting Objects into the Ear

It’s crucial to avoid inserting objects such as cotton swabs, fingers, or any other tools into the ear canal in an attempt to remove water. This can push the water deeper, cause the ear canal to become irritated, or even damage the eardrum.

Dry Your Ears Properly

After exposure to water, gently drying your ears with a towel or a piece of absorbent cloth can help prevent water from getting trapped. You can also use a hairdryer on a low setting, keeping it at a safe distance from your ear, to aid in drying.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While the methods mentioned can be effective for removing water from your ear, there are times when it’s necessary to seek professional help. If you experience severe pain, swelling, persistent discomfort, or any discharge from the ear, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider. Additionally, if you suspect that you have an ear infection or if the trapped water has not been removed after a few days, professional medical treatment may be required.


Water getting trapped in your ear can be a nuisance, but in most cases, it can be resolved safely at home using the methods described above. Understanding the proper techniques for removing water and taking preventive measures can help avoid discomfort and potential infections. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and seek medical advice when necessary to ensure your ear health is maintained.

FAQs on How to Get Water Out of Your Ear

1. Why does water get stuck in my ears?

Water often gets stuck in the ears due to the unique structure of the ear canal. The ear canal has a slight bend, which can create a small pocket where water can become trapped. Activities like swimming, showering, or even washing your face can lead to water entering and getting stuck in your ear.

2. How long does it usually take for water to naturally come out of your ear?

The time it takes for water to naturally come out of your ear can vary. Sometimes, water drains out on its own within a few minutes. However, if water is trapped by earwax or due to the angle of the ear canal, it might take longer. If water does not come out within a few hours or if discomfort persists, you might need to try some of the methods mentioned to encourage drainage.

3. Can trapped water in my ear cause an infection?

Yes, trapped water in the ear can lead to an infection known as “swimmer’s ear” or otitis externa. This condition occurs when moisture trapped in the ear canal creates an environment that helps bacteria or fungi to grow, leading to an infection. Symptoms include itching, redness, discomfort, and sometimes a discharge from the ear.

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