Water in the ears: causes and remedies

Water in the ears: causes and remedies

It happens to everyone at one time or another that water enters the ears when showering or bathing and remains inside the ear canal. If not eliminated, water in the ears can cause inflammation that causes pain. Let’s see what are some natural remedies.

Water in the ears

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  • Symptoms of water in the ear
  • Causes of water in the ears
  • How long does the water last in the ears?
  • Risks and consequences for health
  • How to get water out of your ears
  • Prevention

Symptoms of water in the ear

When you go to the pool or swim in the sea, or even just taking a shower, it can happen that water gets into your ears. The effect is to hear a kind of sound of water in the ear .

The most typical symptom is that of a muffled ear , a plugged ear , which prevents the correct hearing of sounds. If you are unable to expel water from the inner ear, you can run into more unpleasant ailments such as a slight tinnitus  or even an annoying and painful infection such as otitis .

Causes of water in the ears

Water can enter the ears during a shower, a bath, a dip in the pool or the sea, or while cleansing the ear itself.

Normally, the water tends to flow spontaneously from the ears and does not cause any kind of problem. Sometimes, however, you notice that it has remained inside the ear because you have the sensation of having your ears plugged. This happens when the liquid no longer finds its way out of the ear, accumulating in the eardrum .

In addition, the presence of water in the ears alters temperature regulation , exposing the ear canal more to the effects of cold during the winter months.

How long does the water last in the ears?

Generally the presence of water in the middle or deep ear is quite rare, because the presence of ear wax represents a protective factor for these problems. The presence of water in the first part of the ear therefore lasts very little, the time of the duration of a shower or bath carried out.

On the other hand, if the earwax barrier is inconsistent or non-existent to protect the ear canal and if it persists for longer times, favoring the formation of a warm-humid environment, there is a risk of bacteria proliferation . 

Risks and consequences for health

If water remains inside the ear for several hours or even days, it can cause inflammation of the ear. First of all, water can excessively soften the skin of the ear canal and, if it contains soaps, it can alter the lipid protection of the skin by increasing its permeability for pathogenic microorganisms, exposing it to inflammation and infections.

If the water in the ear is not eliminated, otitis can develop which is very painful. Otitis causes ear soreness, itching, pain and, at times, an intense headache. It is therefore important to get rid of water in the ears after a bath and to prevent water from staying in the ears for a long time.

How to get water out of your ears

The easiest way to get the water out of your ears is to tilt your head to the side to help it come out, while also pulling the earlobe down to widen the opening of the ear canal.

Better not to resort to cotton swabs to dry the water in the ears, because the opposite effect could be obtained: the use of the stick, in fact, could push any wax present, creating a hydrophobic plug that would no longer allow water To go out.

If in this way they do not uncork the ears, you can try to exploit the vacuum effect : by tilting the head to the side, cover the ear with the whole palm of the hand as if to completely occlude it and then remove the hand quickly uncorking the occlusion. This technique should call up the excess water in a sort of outward suction .

Again, the Valsava maneuver could be useful, even if it must be carried out taking care not to overdo it and not to make the eardrum suffer: it involves inhaling deeply, closing the nose and mouth and exhaling through the nose until you feel the release of the Eustachian tube.

If these first intervention mechanical actions are not effective, you can try to evaporate the water with the stimulation of a heat source such as a hairdryer, programmed at minimum power and well spaced from the ear.


If all this fails and the water remains in the ear for several days, a painful inflammation could develop. In this case, you should contact your doctor to see if it is appropriate to use specific ear drops .


Generally, the phenomenon of water in the ears does not occur frequently.

However, for people who often have water accumulating in their ears or in those prone to ear infections, it is better to prevent water from entering the ears, for example by wearing water- repellent caps when bathing in the pool or at the sea and in general. when you immerse yourself in water, there are all sizes on the market.

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