The Best Way To Get Water Out Of Your Ear

Whether you just hopped out of the shower or finished a swim, if your ears are feeling clogged, you may have water in them (via WebMD). It's important to remove water that is trapped in your ear, as it may lead to an infection called otitis externa, also referred to as swimmer's ear. This condition can be painful and lead to redness, swelling, and itching of the ear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, you need to go about getting water out of your ear safely, as doing it incorrectly can increase the risk of infection.

The best way to remove water from your ear is to tilt your head to one side and gently pull on the ear lobe. This will help water drain from the ear. You may also want to try a blow dryer on the lowest setting. Blow it toward your ear, but make sure to keep it at least a foot away. You can also help prevent water from getting into your ear by thoroughly drying the ear with a dry cloth or towel after getting wet. Avoid sticking the cloth or anything else, such as cotton swabs, your fingers, or your fingernails, into your ear canal. This can move ear wax or dirt into your ear canal or lead to scratches that can cause further problems. Over-the-counter ear drops are also available. Check with your doctor before using these drops.

What to do if you get swimmer's ear

If you're unable to remove the water stuck in your ear, it could lead to an unpleasant infection. Swimmer's ear is typically mild, but symptoms can worsen if not treated properly (via Mayo Clinic). Contact your healthcare provider even if you have mild symptoms of swimmer's ear such as itching, slight redness or pain, or clear drainage. In more serious cases, symptoms may progress to severe pain, intense itching and redness, and blockage of the ear canal. If you're experiencing these symptoms along with a fever, call your doctor immediately or go to your local emergency room.

Swimmer's ear is typically treated with medicated ear drops. Your doctor will first clean out your ear canal with a suction device so the drops can work properly. Follow your doctor's instructions for continued use of the medication. To help ease pain, your doctor may also recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. During treatment it's helpful to avoid swimming, scuba diving, and flying to prevent further irritation.