Have you ever had water trapped in your ear after a swim, or a shower? Signs of having water trapped in your ear include a sensation of fullness in the ear canal and feeling water shaking around in your ear. This can occur in one or each ear.
If the water does not discharge on its own, this might cause otitis externa - an ear infection that is also called swimmer’s ear.
Why does water get trapped in your ears?
Water can stay in your ears for reasons such as a narrow ear canal or because it is trapped by excessive earwax or other foreign matter.
Who does this usually affect?
Adults and children who frequently spend time in the water are at the highest risk. Getting water trapped in your ears may occur whenever you submerge under water. In some instances, turning yourself upside down when doing a flip or handstand, could cause water to enter your ears.
Are there any risks to having water trapped in your ears?
In some cases, there are risks to having water stuck in your ears. Your ears excrete a waxy, water resistant substance known as cerumen (earwax). Typically, water will trickle out of the ear on its own. If it does not, bacteria can grow causing swimmer’s ear.
Bacteria thrive in environments that are humid, wet, where there are abrasions or scratches inside the ear canal, or due to allergic reactions and skin conditions.
The first signs of swimmer’s ear could be mild, and they include:
Tips to prevent water from entering your ears
You can wear over-the-counter earplugs, or discuss purchasing a pair of earplugs that are designed to be used in the water with your hearing instrument specialist. These earplugs may cost more than your average foam ear plugs that you can buy at the drugstore, but they can be customized for your ears. They are also washable and reusable.
Tips to remove water from your ears
If you do get water in your ears, do not place anything inside your ear canal with the intention of draining the liquid out. Using a cotton swab, your finger or any other foreign object into your ear might push whatever is blocking your ears deeper into the canal, puncturing your eardrum. This may also scratch off any waxy layers that protect your ears, which can cause bacteria or an infection to grow.
Here’s what you should do instead:
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