7 Simple Hacks to Empty Water From Ears!


7 Simple Hacks to Empty Water From Ears!

Ahoy, Mate! Are you a lover of water sports? Summer is prime time for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. A common problem is waterlogged ears. You may do a ping-pong thing with your finger to open them. Perhaps you try stopping the slosh with a cotton ball. You may feel resigned to wait out the auditory fog. However, there are several simple remedies. Following are easy ways to exit the Tunnel of Muffle. The Lay of the Land


Let’s take a snapshot of ear anatomy for a picture of where the problem lies. Your ear has three buddies that work together to process sound. They are the outer, middle, and inner ear.

Outer Ear

The visible part is the outer ear. It collects sounds and directs them to your ear canal. This tubular passage is about one inch long and terminates at the eardrum. Lining the canal are glands that produce earwax. Its purpose is to protect the canal by trapping debris, preventing eardrum damage. Earwax also creates an acidic environment that bacteria find distasteful.

Middle Ear

Your middle ear is a pea-sized cavity. It transforms sound waves into vibrations and ferries them to the inner ear. Separating the middle and inner ear is the eardrum. As its name suggests, it stretches tightly across the canal like a drum.

Now we get to the crux of the matter. Descending from the middle ear is the Eustachian tube. It connects to the back of your nose. It serves as a pressure valve. Normally, the Eustachian tube is closed for business. This protects the middle ear from loud sounds. It can also hold water captive. However, when the tube detects a difference in air pressure at either side of the eardrum, it automatically opens! By allowing air to enter, it diffuses the force that could otherwise damage the eardrum. When the tube opens, you hear a popping sound. One of the ways to release trapped water is to open the Eustachian tube. More on this follows soon.

Ear Water

Inner Ear

Your inner ear contains a snail-shaped organ called the cochlea. It converts sound vibrations into nerve impulses. The messages travel along the auditory nerve to the brain. There, they are interpreted and recognized as specific sounds. The inner ear also houses three semicircular canals that maintain balance.

Drat! It’s Trapped!

When a large volume of water enters your ear canal, it can get trapped. Since the canal dips downward, the fluid may not drain. A backlog of water is a problem. It can lead to inflammation, irritation, and infection of the ear canal. This condition is known as swimmer’s ear.

If fluid remains captive behind the eardrum, it can harbor bacteria. This can cause an infection of the middle ear. The Eustachian tube can also swell, preventing fluid from draining.

Resolving the Clog

RELATED ARTICLE: Dangers of Using Cotton Swabs

Whew! That’s enough of the scary stuff. Fortunately, there are easy ways to release trapped water.

1. The Vacuum Effect

You can release the fluid by creating a temporary vacuum. The suction will draw the water in your ear toward your hand.

  • Tilt your head sideways, with the clogged ear parallel to the ground.
  • Place your palm flat against your ear.
  • Press firmly for a few seconds.
  • Quickly remove your hand.
  • Pump several times until you feel the fluid drain.

2. Alcohol-Vinegar Solution

This remedy will both rid the ear of water and prevent infection. The alcohol speeds water evaporation. The acidic vinegar dissolves any involved earwax. It also discourages bacteria from hanging around.

  • Mix one teaspoon each of alcohol and white vinegar in a cup.
  • Siphon the solution with an eyedropper.
  • Tilt your head sideways, and hold the dropper above your ear canal.
  • Release three drops.
  • Wait 30 seconds.
  • Raise your head and let the excess fluid evacuate.

3. Blow Dryer Method

The warm, dry air from the machine will pull out and evaporate the water.

  • Gently pull your ear lobe down.
  • Set the dryer temp to “Warm” and the air flow to “Low.”
  • Turn the unit on, and hold it 1 foot from your ear canal.
  • Keep it in position for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat a second time if needed.

4. Warm Compress

A warm compress will open the Eustachian tube.

  • Dip a washcloth in a bowl of warm water, and wring out the excess.
  • Hold the cloth against the clogged ear for 30 seconds.
  • Wait a minute and repeat.
  • Lie on your side to summon the aid of gravity.

5. Steam

Steam opens the Eustachian tube and releases built-up fluid.

  • Pour steaming water into a large bowl.
  • Cover your head with a towel.
  • Hold the clogged ear over the steam.
  • Feel that fluid flow. Yes!

6. Valsalva Maneuver

This technique opens the Eustachian tube and equalizes air pressure.

  • Close your mouth, and pinch your nostrils closed with your fingers.
  • Take a deep breath, and gently bring air up through your throat.
  • Blow air through your ears for two seconds.
  • Use the degree of effort needed to inflate a balloon.
  • The force of the exhalation will equalize the air pressure.
  • If done correctly, you’ll hear a slight pop, announcing the opening of the Eustachian tube.

7. Toynbee Maneuver

This is another method of ear equalization. Swallowing pulls the Eustachian tube open.

  • Take a sip of water.
  • Pinch your nose closed.
  • Swallow the water with your nose pinched.

Staying Out of the Tunnel

Preventive techniques will keep you out of the tunnel. Here are some ways to hold water at bay.


Swim molds prevent water from entering by sealing the ear canal. Silicone creates a tight lip to lock out water. You can also wear a neoprene headband to augment the water-blocking effect.

Another option is wearing a swim cap. Following are some considerations for choosing the best type:

  • Lap Swimming – For face-in-the-water swimming, choose a latex or silicone swim cap.
  • Open Water Swimming – Neoprene offers more insulation than latex.
  • Racing – Molded silicone reduces drag during races.

Snorkeling and Diving

The key to avoiding underwater clogs is to keep the Eustachian tubes open. As you descend into the water and before discomfort hits, do the Valsalva maneuver. You can also do the Toynbee. Simultaneously pinch your nose and swallow. A third option is to tilt your head from side to side. This stretches the folds around the Eustachian tubes and helps to keep them open.

Be Proactive

By practicing prevention and damage control, your ears can stay comfortable and healthy. Proven techniques to clear waterlogged ears are:

1. Vacuum Effect
2. Alcohol-Vinegar Solution
3. Blow Dryer Method
4. Warm Compress
5. Steam
6. Valsalva Maneuver
7. Toynbee Maneuver

Preventive Measures are:

1. Swim molds, headbands, and swim caps.
2. Valsalva, Toynbee, and Head Tilts.

Enjoy your water sports!

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