What Happens If You Can't Get Water Out Of Your Ear?

If you've ever gone swimming, there's a good chance that you've gotten water in your ears. Typically, the water drains from the ear on its own, but what happens when that isn't the case? Luckily, there are ways to get water out of your outer ear without having to see a medical professional.

Healthline suggests gently jiggling your earlobe as you tilt your head to the side toward your shoulder. If that doesn't do the trick, try shaking your head side to side while remaining in that position. Another remedy is to lie down on your side with the water-logged ear against a towel. Gravity may be enough to draw the water out of the ear.

Instead of your outer ear, you may find that you have water trapped in your middle ear, or eustachian tubes. Healthline recommends that you first try yawning or chewing. Another option is the ​​Valsalva maneuver, a breathing method that involves inhaling, closing your mouth, gently pinching your nostrils closed, and then exhaling into your nose until you hear a popping sound — this indicates that your eustachian tubes have opened up. But what happens when you can't get water out of your ear?

Other methods for getting water out of your ear

If you can't get water out of your ear, you risk developing an infection in the external auditory canal of your outer ear, often referred to as swimmer's ear, according to Healthline.

WebMD has a few other tips, including putting a blow dryer on the lowest setting and pointing it at your ear from at least 12 inches away. You can also try drying drops, which you can either get at your local pharmacy or make at home. To make homemade drying drops, mix one-part white vinegar and one-part rubbing alcohol. Administer a teaspoon of the drying drops solution into your ear and tilt your head to allow the solution to drain out. Avoid putting drying drops in your ears if you have ear tubes or a ruptured eardrum.

As your ears are delicate organs, it is vital to avoid taking actions that could cause injury. While cotton swabs may seem like a logical tool to use, they are actually dangerous because they can disrupt your ear's natural balance of earwax, push dirt into your ear canal, or irritate the delicate skin in your ear canal. You should also avoid sticking your fingers in your ear, as you could scratch the skin in the canal.

If your ear remains itchy or red after you try these methods, or you feel discomfort or pain when you pull your ear, it may be time to visit your doctor.