Human beings are the most intelligent species among all animals and this intelligence is due to sense organs that are present in our body. We have five sense organs ear, nose, tongue, eyes, and skin. All these organs perform their functions in our body like the ear for hearing, tongue for taste, eyes for vision, and skin for touch. How long can water stay in your ear? Read more to know!
The ear helps us to hear sounds and provide body balance because it is connected to the nose and brain. We can enjoy the sounds of every season with the help of an ear. Our body will be in equilibrium if we protect the ear from infections. Most of the infections are due to water stuck in an ear or by entering small insects inside the ears.
1. How Long Can Water Stay in Your Ear?
Usually, water in the ear will naturally drain out. However, occasionally a person may need to use DIY remedies to relieve clogged ears. After swimming or other activities that cause water to enter the ear canal, water may remain in the ear. A person who has water in their ear could feel a tickling or tingling sensation that spreads to their jaw or throat. Additionally, they might not like what they hear, including muffled sounds.
Having your ears blocked for several hours can be pretty annoying. But other than avoiding the water altogether, there is no simple technique to stop water from being lodged in your ear. Most frequently, water might stay in your ear for a few hours to one or two days. It depends on the individual, their ear architecture, and how much earwax they produce. It will also depend on the level and kind of water activities.
2. The Structure of Ear Canal
The hearing in the ear is done by three parts of the ear. The pinna collects the sound waves and conducts them through the external auditory canal and these sound waves strike the eardrum which produces vibrations. The vibrating eardrum also helps to start vibration in ear ossicles.
In the last cochlea also comes in vibration. Human beings can receive sounds of 20 to 20,000 Hertz. The semicircular canal of the inner ear is concerned with equilibrium when the body is in motion, the moving fluid in the canal sends nerve impulses to the brain. There are three divisions for the ear.
- Outer Ear- It consists of a pinna, auditory canal, and eardrum.
- Middle Ear- It consists of three bones Malleus, incus, and stapes called ear ossicles.
- Inner ear- it consists of the cochlea, semicircular canals, and the vestibule.
3. The Types of Ears Infections
Water in the ear for many days is dangerous and can cause hearing impairment. Water in the ear creates a moist environment which enhances the growth of bacteria and fungi. Ear infections are due to bacteria and fungi are named as bacterial or fungal infection.
The main reason for this infection is water behind earwax or cerumen in the ear canal. Water trapped in your ear causes pain in the ear and in severe cases it develops into fever also. In this case, consulting a medical practitioner will help.
An ear infection is an uncomfortable and painful experience. Ear care is important in our lives and is achieved by addressing this problem with healthcare professionals and by taking proper preventive measures. The following are the types of ear infections:
3.1. Otitis Media
This infection occurs in the middle ear and is painful. Otitis media causes swelling in the ear. This infection lasts for 2-3 days but if it remains for more than 3 months then it requires treatment.
3.2. Otitis Externa
This infection occurs due to water trapped in the ear after showering or swimming. Otitis externa is the infection of the outer ear canal that runs from the eardrum.
3.3. Infectious Myringitis
This infection mostly occurs in the eardrum due to viruses or bacteria. Infectious myringitis is a middle ear infection.
3.4. Acute Mastoiditis
This infection is the acute form of bacterial infection in the middle ear which spreads in the mastoid bone.
3.4. Vestibular Neuronitis
The type of infection related to the inner ear causes vertigo and dizziness. Mostly this type of infection is caused by the entry of cold water inside the ear.
3.5. Herpes Zoster of the Ear
This infection causes severe pain in the ear and forms blisters in the outer ear. All these types of infections are due to water in your ear and severe cases require medical attention.
4. How Does Water Get Stuck in your Ear?
Water can stick in the ear in different ways. Most of the time it is happening during swimming or showering. Recent studies show that wearing earbuds for a longer duration makes sweat stuck in the ear can cause an infection in the ear.
The structure of the ear is such that most of the time water from the ear drains out its own but sometimes the shape of the ear canal becomes the main contributor to trapping water in curves and bends of the ear canal. The other causes of water stuck in the ear are sinus infection, ear wax buildup, and high air pressure.
The wax in the outer ear canal protects the ear from moisture, foreign objects, and infection but occasionally this wax only becomes the main agent in trapping water inside the ear.
5. Water in Ear Symptoms
Blocked ear after swimming is common, but it can be avoided by wearing earplugs or swim cap. Swimming with earplugs makes a barrier for water to enter the ear canal. The symptoms of a swimmer’s ear are itching and redness. Some people feel sensations of fullness or some unique sounds in the ear.
Water in-ear symptoms are itching, painting, temporary loss of hearing, and discharge. In many cases, water in the ear can cause swelling and bleeding from the ear. All these symptoms are the cause of ear infection also called swimmer’s ear or otitis externa. Swimmer’s ear is an outer ear infection and generally happens in the external auditory canal.
6. How to Get Rid of Water in the Ear?
Tilting the head towards the downside which the affected ear should face towards the earth and then slowly rubbing on the earlobe helps to drain water from the ear.
Water can be dislodged by creating pressure through exhaling after closing the mouth and nose.
One more technique that was preferred in older days was putting more water in the affected ear. In this method, the affected ear is filled with water with the help of a dropper and after 5 seconds that water is removed from the affected ear facing towards down side.
The technique of evaporating the water with the help of a hair dryer is also helpful. This technique requires extra precautions like hair dryer should be on the lowest settings and while blowing it should be at a small distance.
The gravity/jiggling technique in which the patient lies on the floor with the affected ear parallel to the floor can help to get rid of water. The most popular method used is creating a vacuum in the ear by tilting the head to the side and resting the ear on a cupped palm. After that, the movement of the hand towards the back and forward helps to drain water outside.
7. Don’ts for Getting Water Out of the Ear
Using fingers or cotton swabs can damage the skin of the ear canal or cause a ruptured eardrum. Avoid pricking with fingernails. when people use ear swabs or fingernails it pushes the water deeper into the ear resulting in the rupturing of the eardrum.
Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or drying drops without consultation with a doctor which may cause damage to ear tubes. Moreover, learn how to protect your ears.
People who spend a lot of time underwater are more prone to this problem. They can use a warm compress or hydrogen peroxide ear drops on the recommendation of a physician. Warm compress is the technique in which a lukewarm water-soaked towel is squeezed to remove extra water placed on the ear by tilting the head. This technique helps to relax the tissues of the ear and helps to drain water from the ear.
There are many home remedies for the treatment of ear paining but that one which is used by many people are alcohol and white vinegar. In this method, the solution is prepared alcohol by taking an equal proportion of alcohol and white vinegar and putting it in the affected ear for 30 seconds after that drain out the solution and clean the ear with a dry cloth. This solution helps to kill bacteria and ear wax in the ear which causes trapping.
Therefore, eardrops or sprays are also helpful for blocked ears. These can be used on doctor’s prescriptions. There are different types of eardrops and sprays available in the market. The best options are alcohol-based eardrops, hydrogen peroxide eardrops, olive oil eardrops, carbamide peroxide eardrops, and almond oil glycerol eardrops.
Suggested Reading: 5 Questions with Pooja Garg: A Registered Health Coach
8. Final words
The ear is the most important part of our body and helps us to hear. Hearing health is the priority for a sound mind and good health. An ear infection is a major problem among people which happens due to the clogging of water inside the ear.
There are many techniques by which water can be removed from the ear. If the water is trapped for more than a week and symptoms persist with redness or painting, then consulting a physician is best. In severe cases, water in your ear can damage bone and cartilage resulting in hearing loss.[amazon_auto_links id="280559"]