water in ear

Best Tips: How to Get Water Out of Your Ear Quickly and Safely

Swimming or showering and now you’re stuck with water in your ear? Discover how to get water out of your ear with safe, effective methods in this no-nonsense guide. From quick fixes to tips on avoiding future issues, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Trapped water in the ear can lead to discomfort, reduced hearing, and increase the risk of ear infections like swimmer’s ear, necessitating timely intervention or medical attention if persistent.
  • Immediate relief techniques for water trapped in the ear include tilting the head, jiggling the earlobe, using a warm compress, creating a vacuum with your palm, and applying evaporation methods such as a blow dryer.
  • Preventative measures, such as wearing earplugs and addressing ear health concerns like buildup and infections, are vital for preventing water entrapment and maintaining overall ear wellness.

Understanding Water in the Ear

Water trapped in the ear canal

Water can become trapped in your ear due to activities such as swimming, diving, or even showering. This can result in the following symptoms:

  • Muffled ear sensation
  • Rustling noise in the ear canal that may resemble gurgling
  • Tickling sensation in the ear, extending to the jawbone or throat
  • Difficulty hearing

Yet, the issue extends beyond mere discomfort. The accumulation of water in the ear can lead to:

  • inflammation of the ear canal due to the presence of salt and chlorine
  • compromise of the ear’s protective film, making it more susceptible to pathogens
  • increased risk of infections such as swimmer’s ear, an outer ear infection.

Water can typically persist in the ear for a few days. If water remains trapped despite self-care measures, seeking medical attention becomes necessary. This is especially important if:

  • The issue persists for multiple days
  • There is pain and inflammation in the ear
  • There is intense pain or fever, which are indicative of an infection, such as a middle ear infection.

Immediate Actions to Release Trapped Water

Tilting head to release trapped water

If you find water trapped in your ear, the first instinct might be to try and shake it out. And you’re not wrong! Jiggling the earlobe can facilitate the removal of water from the ear by creating motions that may assist in dislodging trapped water. A gentle tug on the earlobe can help with this process.

A more effective water release method exists though. It’s recommended to tilt your head downward toward your shoulder, with the affected ear facing downward. This facilitates the flow of trapped water and leverages the change in position for its removal. Make sure the affected ear is facing downward.

Gravity significantly contributes to this process. It assists in the natural drainage of water from the ear when the head is tilted, facilitating the effortless removal of water. In some cases, ear tubes may be recommended by a healthcare professional to aid in drainage.

Gentle Methods to Dislodge Water

Using warm compress to dislodge water

If the immediate actions are not enough to dislodge the trapped water, there are gentler methods you can try. One such method is creating a vacuum in the ear. This alters the pressure in the ear canal, facilitating the drawing out of the water. Keep in mind to avoid cotton swabs, which may push the water further into the ear canal.

The recommended method for creating a vacuum is to tilt your head sideways and rest your affected ear on your cupped palm, ensuring a tight seal. Then, gently rub your hand back and forth in a quick but gentle manner.

Another gentle method is the application of a warm compress. By gently applying heat to the affected area, this can facilitate the drainage of water and provide relief from discomfort. Furthermore, taking a hot shower can help loosen the trapped water, facilitating easier drainage due to the steam.

The Role of Evaporation Techniques

Using blow dryer to evaporate water

When it comes to removing water from the ear, evaporation techniques can be incredibly effective. They aid in the process by facilitating the evaporation of the trapped moisture.

Using a blow dryer is one such method. The application of heat from a blow dryer facilitates the evaporation of water within the ear canal. It’s vital, however, to keep the dryer on the lowest setting and maintain approximately one foot distance from the ear while directing warm air into it.

While using a blow dryer, ensure you maintain a distance of at least 12 inches between the hair dryer and the skin to avoid direct contact and potential harm. This way, you can safely and effectively use a blow dryer to aid in the removal of water from the ear.

Over-the-Counter Solutions

If the aforementioned techniques do not yield results, you might want to consider over-the-counter solutions. Eardrops and sprays are frequently utilized over-the-counter solutions for the removal of water from the ear.

These ear drops intended for the elimination of water usually consist of isopropyl alcohol and glycerin. Nonetheless, consulting a healthcare professional before using ear drops ensures the most suitable option for your specific circumstances is chosen.

Even though these solutions are available over the counter, it’s not advisable to use them without a doctor’s recommendation. They should be used responsibly and under medical supervision to avoid any potential complications.

Advanced Techniques for Stubborn Cases

Using hydrogen peroxide ear drops

In stubborn cases, where water remains trapped in the ear despite trying various methods, advanced techniques may be required. A combination of alcohol and vinegar drops is considered an advanced technique for persistent cases of trapped water in the ear. Always remember to seek medical supervision before attempting this method.

Be advised that the application of rubbing alcohol or vinegar may result in intense discomfort if there is a perforated eardrum. Excessive use of rubbing alcohol can also be detrimental due to its potential toxicity.

The suggested approach for removing trapped water using alcohol and vinegar drops involves:

  1. Combining equal parts of each
  2. Placing three to four drops into the ear
  3. Waiting 30 minutes
  4. Tilting the head to allow the solution and water to drain out

Another advanced technique is the use of hydrogen peroxide ear drops. Given the risk of skin irritation and potential danger in case of a perforated eardrum, using these drops under medical supervision is advisable.

Recognizing When It’s More Than Just Water

While water trapped in the ear is a common issue, there are times when the symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. Symptoms of ear infections, such as pain or muffled hearing, and the presence of excess earwax are indicators that the condition may be more than just trapped water.

For instance, indicators of an ear infection developing from trapped water, such as swimmer’s ear, may include symptoms like ear pain or a sensation of a muffled ear, which are distinct from the discomfort of water being trapped.

If you suspect earwax is obstructing the release of trapped water, it’s advisable to use sterile eardrops to soften the wax. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal to prevent potential damage. If the condition worsens, continues for a prolonged period, or if concerns about an ear infection or significant earwax build-up arise, seeking medical advice becomes essential.

Preventative Measures for Future Protection

Once you’ve experienced the discomfort of water trapped in your ear, you’ll want to take measures to prevent a recurrence. Implementing preventative measures, such as utilizing earplugs or custom hearing protection, are effective strategies for avoiding water entrapment in the ear.

Silicone or ‘Putty Type’ Earplugs are widely regarded as the most effective options for preventing water from entering the ears, thanks to their superior sealing properties. Custom hearing protection, such as custom earmolds or earplugs, offers a precise fit that conforms to the wearer’s ear shape, thus creating a secure barrier against water entering the ear canal.

These preventative measures can go a long way in preserving your ear health and avoiding the discomfort of having water in your ear.

Addressing Related Ear Health Concerns

Beyond dealing with trapped water in the ear, addressing other ear health concerns like earwax buildup, swimmer’s ear, and vertigo is equally important. The accumulation of earwax can impede the proper drainage of water from the ear canal, resulting in symptoms such as earache and hearing impairment.

Swimmer’s ear, known as otitis externa, is an infection in the outer ear canal caused by prolonged exposure to water, which creates a conducive environment for bacterial growth. Furthermore, the presence of water in the ear can lead to vertigo, characterized by feelings of imbalance and spinning. This can occur due to middle ear effusions or the entry of cold water impacting the balance of the inner ear.

Addressing these ear health concerns is crucial to uphold overall ear health and mitigate potential complications associated with water accumulation in the ear.


In conclusion, water trapped in the ear is a common issue that can cause discomfort and potentially lead to complications if not addressed properly. From understanding how water gets trapped in the ear, to learning effective methods for its removal, over-the-counter solutions, and preventative measures, this blog post provides a comprehensive guide on how to handle this issue effectively and safely. Remember, when in doubt, always seek professional medical advice to prevent potential complications and ensure the health of your ears.

Take a look at our services offered at Ear to Hear Online

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get water out of my ear ASAP?

To remove water from your ear, try shaking your head, lying on your side to let gravity assist, or creating a vacuum with certain techniques. You can also use drying drops or a blend of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Avoid inserting objects into your ear.

Will water in the ear go away on its own?

Yes, water in the ear will usually go away on its own as your ears naturally secrete a water-repellent substance. However, if it doesn’t, it may lead to an ear infection, so it’s important to address it.

Why won’t the fluid drain from my ear?

The fluid won’t drain from your ear because if an infection or irritation is present, the eustachian tube can swell, causing fluid to back up. Popping your ears can help open the eustachian tube, allowing fluid to drain.

Can water trapped in the ear cause complications?

Yes, water trapped in the ear can lead to discomfort and potentially serious complications like ear infections if not addressed properly.

Is using a blow dryer safe for removing water from the ear?

Yes, using a blow dryer to remove water from the ear is safe as long as you use the lowest setting and maintain a safe distance between the blow dryer and the ear.

Share this post

widex hearing aid

Get a 7-day risk-free trial
on hearing aids

Ear to Hear offers a 7-day risk free trial on hearing aids. Give yourself the opportunity to try hearing aids in any environment, risk-free.