water stuck in ear

Top Techniques for Quick Relief from Water Stuck in Ear

  • May 16, 2024

Dealing with “water stuck in ear”? This article cuts straight to proven tactics for quick water removal, giving you the relief you need without delay.


Key Takeaways

  • Immediate relief for water in the ear includes tilt and shake, using gravity by lying down, and gentle ear exercises like yawning or chewing to encourage drainage.
  • Creating a vacuum with a cupped palm or applying warm compresses can help dislodge trapped water; a blow dryer on the lowest setting can also be used carefully to dry out the ear.
  • Home remedies should be used with caution to avoid ear infections, and professional help should be sought if water is stubbornly trapped or if symptoms of an infection appear.


Unlocking Your Ear: Immediate Steps to Take

The first line of defense when water invades your ear is to take immediate steps to help your ear naturally expel the water. What might these steps include? The answer lies in drying the outer ear, tilting your head, and performing some simple ear exercises.


Tilt and Shake

So, you’ve got water trapped in your ear? Try the tilt and shake method. Start by tilting your head sideways towards your shoulder. This helps straighten the ear canal, improving the chances of water drainage. Then, gently tug on your earlobe and shake your head from side to side.


This simple back-and-forth motion uses gravity to assist in water removal.


The Gravity Method

When it comes to water in your ear, gravity is your friend. Try lying down with the affected ear facing downward. This will encourage the liquid to drain or trickle from your ear. Remember, remaining still while lying on one side may assist in the natural drainage of water.


Gentle Ear Exercises

Here’s a fun fact: gentle movements like yawning or chewing can help release trapped water in your ear. How, you ask? These motions activate the muscles around the ear, moving the trapped water towards the ear canal, thus facilitating drainage.


Next time you feel like your ear feels blocked, try yawning or chewing some gum!


Creating a Vacuum: A How-To Guide

What if tilting and shaking or gentle ear exercises aren’t enough? That’s when you create a vacuum. This technique involves covering your ear with your palm to form a tight seal and then using a back-and-forth motion to create suction.


This reverse pressure can help extract trapped water from your ear.


Cupped Palm Technique

Ready to create a vacuum? Let’s talk about the cupped palm technique. Here’s how to do it:


  1. Start by covering the affected ear with your cupped palm, pressing it slightly towards the ear.
  2. Then, press and pull your cupped hand back and forth rapidly. This creates a vacuum effect that aids in dislodging water from your ear.
  3. Once the water is dislodged, tilt your head to allow the water to drain out.


Using Warm Compresses

Warm compresses are another helpful tool in your arsenal. Applying a warm towel as a compress to the ear can help relax the tissues and promote the drainage of trapped water.


It’s one of those home remedies that are simple yet effective, like using rubbing alcohol.


Dryer Method: The Safe Way to Use Warm Air

We bet you never thought your hair dryer could come in handy for something other than drying your hair! A blow dryer can be used to dry the ear by following these steps:


  1. Set the blow dryer on the lowest heat and fan settings.
  2. Hold the blow dryer about 12 inches away from the ear.
  3. Gently move the blow dryer around the ear to dry any moisture.
  4. Be sure to use it correctly to avoid any ear damage.


Correct Hair Dryer Setting

Safety first, right? When using a hair dryer to dry your ear, make sure it’s on the lowest heat setting. This minimizes the risk of burns to the skin and damage to the ear. It’s all about evaporating the trapped water, not cooking your ear!


Protecting Your Ear Canal

While using the hair dryer, it’s important to protect your ear canal. How? By moving the dryer continuously in a sweeping motion. This ensures the heat is distributed evenly and no area of the ear canal is overheated.


Remember, it’s not about blasting hot air into your ear, but about gently warming it to encourage evaporation.


The Role of Ear Drops in Dislodging Water

Illustration of using alcohol-based ear drops to dislodge trapped water in the ear


If the hair dryer technique isn’t your style, you might consider using ear drops. These can be purchased over-the-counter or even made at home. They’re a great alternative if other techniques, such as tilting or creating a vacuum, don’t do the trick.


Alcohol-Based Ear Drops

Alcohol-based ear drops are a popular solution for removing water from your ear. They facilitate the evaporation of water and contain antibacterial properties to decrease the risk of infections. However, it’s important to note that these drops should not be used by individuals with:


  • ear tubes
  • punctured ear drums
  • swimmer’s ear
  • ear drainage


Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions

Hydrogen peroxide ear drops can also be a game-changer. They help clear the ear canal of earwax and other debris that can trap water.


The foaming action of hydrogen peroxide helps to break up and remove this debris, thus assisting in the release of trapped water.


When to Avoid Certain Remedies

As with any home remedy, there are times when they should be avoided. For instance, hydrogen peroxide solutions should be avoided by those with:



Also, inserting cotton swabs into the ear canal can cause earache, itchiness, and damage to the tympanic membrane.


Risks of Cotton Swabs and Fingers

It might be tempting to reach for a cotton swab or use your finger to get rid of that annoying water in your ear. But resist the urge! Doing so can cause more harm than good, pushing the water deeper into your ear and potentially damaging the delicate tissues of your ear canal.


Dangers of Improper Use of Home Remedies

Before you rush to try that DIY ear drop recipe you saw online, remember that improper use of home remedies can worsen an existing ear infection or even cause additional infections. It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional before trying any home remedies for water stuck in your ear.


Recognizing and Responding to Ear Infections

Water trapped in your ear can, unfortunately, lead to ear infections like swimmer’s ear or otitis externa. Recognizing the signs of these infections and responding quickly is crucial to prevent complications and ensure your ear health.


Signs of Otitis Externa

Otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear, is an outer ear infection that occurs when water remains in the ear canal for too long. The early symptoms of swimmer’s ear can include:


  • itching in the ear canal
  • slight redness inside the ear
  • mild discomfort
  • discharge of clear fluid


As it progresses, you might feel intense itching, increased pain, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.


Middle Ear Infection Concerns

Middle ear infections are another concern that can arise from water being trapped in your ear. These infections happen behind the eardrum and can cause ear pain, muffled hearing, and drainage from the ear. If left untreated, they can lead to severe complications, including persistent hearing loss or facial nerve paralysis, and even a perforated eardrum.


Preventative Measures to Keep Ears Dry

They say prevention is better than cure, and we couldn’t agree more. There are several preventative measures you can take to keep your ears dry and reduce the chances of water getting trapped in your ear.


Protective Gear for Swimmers

If you’re a regular swimmer or a water sports enthusiast, protective gear like earplugs, swimming caps, or custom-fit ear molds can be your best friends. They effectively keep water out of your ears, reducing the chances of you getting a case of the dreaded condition called swimmer’s ear.


Proper Ear Care Post-Exposure

Proper ear care doesn’t end when you step out of the water. Make sure to:


  • Dry your ears thoroughly after swimming or showering
  • Avoid inserting any objects into the ear
  • Keep your ears dry to significantly reduce the likelihood of developing swimmer’s ear.


Professional Help: When to Consult a Hearing Healthcare Specialist

Despite your best efforts, there might be times when water gets stubbornly trapped in your ear, or you might experience symptoms of an ear infection. In such cases, it’s crucial to seek professional help.


Persistent Problems and Complications

Untreated water in your ear can lead to serious health issues. Persistent infections can damage the ear bones and cartilage, and may spread to adjacent tissues, including the skull, brain, or nerves. It’s critical to seek professional medical evaluation if you experience persistent muffled hearing due to trapped water.


Accessing Medical Services

If you’re experiencing ear pain, muffled hearing, or balance loss due to trapped water, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor or an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Healthcare professionals might clean the outer ear canal using a suction device or ear curette, which can help in the application of prescribed eardrops by removing discharge, earwax, and debris.



Water trapped in your ear can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous issue if not addressed properly. From simple techniques like tilting your head and shaking to using a hair dryer or over-the-counter ear drops, there are numerous ways to tackle this problem. Remember, if all else fails, seek health care professional to prevent potential complications. The key to healthy ears lies in knowing how to effectively remove water from them and taking preventative measures to keep them dry.


Frequently Asked Questions


How to get water out of your ears?

To get water out of your ears, try gently pulling on your earlobe and tipping your head to the side to allow the water to drain out. You can also try moving your jaw by yawning or lying on your side with your ear resting on a towel.


How do you treat trapped fluid in your ear?

To get water out of your ears, try gently pulling on your earlobe and tipping your head to the side to allow the water to drain out. You can also try moving your jaw by yawning or lying on your side with your ear resting on a towel.


How do you treat trapped fluid in your ear?

If you have trapped fluid in your ear, it may go away on its own, but you might need antibiotics for an infection or surgery if it gets worse. Remember to seek medical advice for the best course of treatment.


How long can water stay in your ear?

If water stays trapped in your ear for 2 or 3 days, or if you show signs of infection, it's important to contact your local GP to prevent potential long-term damage or hearing loss.


Can trapped water in my ear lead to serious health issues?

Yes, untreated water in your ear can lead to serious infections that can spread to adjacent tissues, including the skull, brain, or nerves. It's important to address trapped water in your ear promptly to prevent these potential health issues.


Are there any risks associated with using cotton swabs to remove water from my ear?

Using cotton swabs to remove water from your ear can push water deeper and potentially damage delicate ear canal tissues. Be cautious and consider alternative methods for drying your ears.