Summertime in Charleston means you can reliably count on several things: painful sunburns, ants invading your picnic and water in your ears.
Not that we don’t love the season – backyard barbecues alone are enough to make us wish the pleasant weather would last forever – but these can put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable time of year.
We can’t help you out with sunburns or insects, but we do have solutions that will help you get rid of water in your ears.
Water in the Ears Can Lead to Infection
When the temperature soars, people in South Carolina flock to the water to cool off.
This is a great way to beat the heat, but when fluid gets trapped in your ear canals, it can cause problems.
Not only will you find it difficult to hear; you are likely to experience ear pain and discomfort, loss of balance and coordination, ringing in the ears, a plugged-up sensation, runny nose and sore throat.
It’s imperative you remove any water that has accumulated, or you’ll risk a painful infection such as swimmer’s ear or surfer’s ear.
Left untreated, these can even cause hearing loss.
Fortunately, you aren’t the first person in history to end up with water in their ears.
Those who have blazed a trail before you have come up with a variety of helpful techniques for getting rid of that water.
Here are seven of our favorites.
- The Gravity/Jiggling Technique. You’re no doubt familiar with the phrase what goes up, must come down. You can use gravity to your advantage when you’ve got water stuck in your ears by lying down with your ear facing the ground, tilting your head, and giving your earlobe a jiggle. A cotton swab can help if that doesn’t work.
- The Valsalva Maneuver. Anybody who has flown the friendly skies or dove into the abyss is familiar with this trick: close your mouth, plug your nose and blow using modest force. This helps equalize the pressure in your ears and should allow water to drain, too.
- The Vacuum Technique. Create a vacuum or suction effect by placing the palm of your hand over the plugged-up ear and pushing down softly. This will help free water that is trapped in your ear canals.
- The Hairdryer Technique. Unless you’re bald or really into mousse, you’ve probably got a hairdryer in your bathroom drawer. Use it to free trapped water by turning it onto its lowest heat setting and aiming it at your affected ear. Do this from a safe distance so you don’t end up burning yourself.
- The Pulling Technique. Just as the name implies, pull on the outer portion of your ear by reaching around behind your head and giving it a tug with one hand. This will straighten out your ear canal and provide the trapped water with a convenient drainage path.
- The Chew and Yawn Technique. Moving your mouth helps relieve pressure in your ears, allowing accumulated water to drain freely. Yawning does the same thing (but isn’t nearly as tasty). Try doing both at the same time to really impress your friends.
- The Chemical Technique. Sometimes, natural remedies just don’t work. If you’ve tried the above and still can’t dislodge the water, try alcohol-based over-the-counter ear drops for a helpful assist.
The best trick of all, of course, is avoiding getting water in your ears in the first place.
Your Charleston hearing doctor recommends wearing swim plugs or a swim cap any time you are going to be swimming or bathing and drying your ears thoroughly afterward.
If you are unable to free trapped water even after trying these tricks, contact a Charleston audiologist for an appointment.
Related Hearing Loss Posts:
- The History of Hearing Aids
- How to Recognize Hearing Loss in Infants
- The Link Between Antibiotics & Hearing Loss
Our Charleston Area Audiologists Office Locations
North Mount Pleasant
North Charleston, SC 29406
298 Midland Pkwy
Summerville, SC 29485
2005 2nd Avenue
Summerville, SC 29486