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How To Drain Middle Ear Fluid At Home

What Not To Do

Ear Problems & Infections : How to Drain Liquid From Behind the Ear Drum

Though it may be tempting, avoid digging into your ear with cotton swabs, your finger, or any other object. Doing so can introduce bacteria into the ear canal and cause a minor irritation to become an infections. Putting objects into your ear can also push water deeper into your ear and scrape or puncture the ear drum.

When To See A Doctor About Drainage From The Middle Ear

If you have persistent fluid in your middle ear or if home treatment is not working, its important to see a doctor. They can prescribe medication to help clear the fluid and may also place a tube in your ear to keep the middle ear ventilated and prevent future infection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage.

Drainage from the middle ear is a common occurrence, but if its accompanied by severe pain, hearing loss, or fever, its important to see a doctor right away as it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Fluid in the middle ear is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of things, such as infection, allergies, and acid reflux. If you have fluid in your middle ear, you may need to have it drained in order to relieve the pressure and pain. This can be done at home using a syringe. However, if home treatment is not working or if you have any concerns, be sure to consult with your doctor.


1. What is middle ear fluid?

Middle ear fluid is a clear, watery liquid that can build up in the middle ear space.

2. What causes middle ear fluid?

Middle ear fluid is often caused by an infection, such as a cold or sinus infection, but it can also be caused by allergies, viral infections, and even acid reflux.

3. How do I get rid of middle ear fluid?

Infections Inside The Ear

Antibiotics are not usually offered because infections inside the ear often clear up on their own and antibiotics make little difference to symptoms, including pain.

Antibiotics might be prescribed if:

  • an ear infection does not start to get better after 3 days
  • you or your child has any fluid coming out of the ear
  • there are other factors that increase your or your childs risk of complications, such as having a weakened immune system

They may also be prescribed if your child is less than 2 years old and has an infection in both ears.

If antibiotics are not prescribed, eardrops containing a painkiller and an anaesthetic might be prescribed.

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What Causes Fluid From The Ear

Nearly all children will, at some point, experience a build-up of fluid behind the ear drum. This is known as an ear effusion. There may be no sign of infection, such as a fever, but the child might rub their ear or have some problems with hearing. Your doctor can see the fluid by looking into the ear with a special instrument.

An ear effusion can cause the middle ear to become inflamed and sometimes the fluid becomes infected. This is called otitis media. The infection is often caused by a virus and leads to earache and pain, fever and irritability in children. Sometimes the build-up of fluid lasts for a long time and the fluid becomes thick and sticky, causing hearing loss which can make learning difficult for children. This is called glue ear.

Fluid from the ear is sometimes caused by swimmers ear , when moisture and humidity cause the skin inside the ear canal to swell and become infected. Swimmers ear also makes the ear painful and itchy.

Other less common causes of fluid from the ear include:

How To Keep Water Out


Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. To stop moisture from building up in your ears to begin with, try these tips.

  • Remove earbuds if youâre sweaty.
  • Coat a cotton ball with petroleum jelly and slip it into your outer ears during a bath.
  • Block your ears with cotton balls when you use hair spray or hair dye.
  • Use earplugs and a swim cap when you go into the water.
  • Have your doctor remove earwax if you think you have a problem with wax buildup. Yes, it protects your ears, but too much can trap water in the canal. Always check with your doctor. Never try to get it out yourself.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide with your doctorâs approval. If you have wax buildup, they may suggest you clean your ears with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. But you canât do this if you have tubes in your ears. Put about half of an ear dropper full in your ear. Let it bubble up. Then turn your head to the side, gently pull on the top of your ear, and let it drain.

Show Sources

Mayo Clinic: Swimmerâs Ear: Overview,â âSwimmerâs Ear: Self-management,â âSwimmerâs Ear: Symptoms and Causes,â âSwimmerâs Ear: Treatment.â

American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery: âSwimmer’s Ear.â

Nemours KidsHealth: âInfections: Swimmerâs Ear.â

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: âSwimmer’s Ear .â

Cleveland Clinic: âHow to Keep Swimmerâs Ear From Ruining Your Summer.â

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How Is An Ear Infection Treated

Treatment of ear infections depends on age, severity of the infection, the nature of the infection and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period of time.

Your healthcare provider will recommend medications to relieve you or your childs pain and fever. If the ear infection is mild, depending on the age of the child, your healthcare provider may choose to wait a few days to see if the infection goes away on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.


Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of the ear infection. Your healthcare provider may want to wait up to three days before prescribing antibiotics to see if a mild infection clears up on its own when the child is older. If your or your childs ear infection is severe, antibiotics might be started right away.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended when to prescribe antibiotics and when to consider waiting before prescribing based on your childs age, severity of their infection, and your childs temperature. Their recommendations are shown in the table below.

American Academy of Pediatrics Treatment Guide for Acute Otitis Media

Childs Age
in one or both ears Mild for < 48 hours and temp < 102.2° F Treat with antibiotic OR observe. If observe, start antibiotics if child worsens or doesnt improve within 48 to 72 hours of start of symptoms

Pain-relieving medications

Ear tubes

When Should I Call The Doctor

Very rarely, ear infections that don’t go away or severe repeated middle ear infections can lead to complications. So kids with an earache or a sense of fullness in the ear, especially when combined with fever, should be seen by their doctors if they aren’t getting better after a couple of days.

Other things can cause earaches, such as teething, a foreign object in the ear, or hard earwax. Your doctor can find the cause of your child’s discomfort and treat it.

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Pain Relievers For Earaches

If you or your child is experiencing an infection, youll likely want relief from the pain fast.

For quick relief, your doctor may also suggest reaching for an over-the-counter pain reliever, with or without the addition of antibiotics.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen could help, though youll always want to check with your doctor to be sure.

How To Get Water Out Of Ears

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To avoid an escalation of such condition, you can learn how to drain fluid from middle ear. Once you notice any clogged ears, you can try a few of the home techniques. These include:

  • Swallowing: Whenever you swallow, the eustachian tube opens automatically. This is the tube connecting the back of the nose to the middle ear. You can also chew gum or suck on candy to help in opening this tube.

  • Yawning: You can fake a yawn to open the eustachian tube. You can do so by opening your mouth wide as you breathe in and out. You can do so several times to unclog the ears and drain the fluid out.

  • Valsalva maneuver: Here, you pinch your nose to close it, keep your cheeks neutral, and gently blow the air out of the nostrils. There is a pressure that is generated at the back of the nose as a result, which helps to unclog the eustachian tube.

  • Using a warm washcloth: You can use a warm washcloth or heating pad pressed against the ear to get rid of congestion as well as open the eustachian tube. If the ears are clogged as a result of cold, this method is very effective.

  • Toynbee maneuver: Here, you will need to pinch your nostrils shut and swallow. This technique is also as effective as the Valsalva maneuver. You can try the two exercises to see the one that works well for you as the results may differ from one person to another.

  • You can use EARDOc Pro for instant relief

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    Steam Treatment To Treat Fluid In Ear

    Among the best and simplest home remedies for fluid in the ear is steam treatment. Oftentimes swelling or infection in the Eustachian tube is what causes the buildup of fluid in the middle ear and steam can help take that pressure off.

    • Boil a pot of water and then remove it from the stove.
    • Placing a towel over your head, lower your head over the steaming pot, and breath in the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
    • You can add some of the oils that we mentioned to the steam if you like.
    • You can repeat this remedy 2 to 3 times daily as well.

    How Do I Unclog My Ears From A Sinus Infection

  • Get a humidifier. Humidity and moisture are a great way to treat sinus inflammation or irritation, says Dr. …
  • Use a saline mist or nasal spray. Pollen, dust and bacteria cause the sinuses to dry out. …
  • Consider a decongestant. …
  • Avoid caffeine, salt, tobacco and alcohol. …
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    How Do Ear Infections Happen

    A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes . The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.

    A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, or grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.

    When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmers ear . Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or popping.

    What Is Fluid From The Ear

    How to Remove Fluid in Ears

    A discharge from the ear, also called otorrhea, is usually just the body getting rid of ear wax the oil and solid materials you produce naturally to prevent dust and bacteria from getting into your ears.

    But sometimes sticky fluid builds up in the middle ear, behind the ear drum. This mucus can lead to ear infections and loss of hearing, and is very common in children.

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    How To Drain Fluid From The Middle Ear Using A Syringe

    If you have fluid in your middle ear, you may need to have it drained in order to relieve the pressure and pain. This can be done at home using a syringe.

    First, clean the syringe with rubbing alcohol and let it air dry. Then, fill the syringe with warm water. Next, tilt your head to the affected ear and pull your earlobe backward and upward. Finally, insert the syringe tip into your ear canal and release the water slowly. Repeat this process two to three times per day until the fluid is gone.

    How Do You Remove Water Stuck In Your Ear

    Tugging on the earlobe and shaking your head should help water flow out of the ear canal, or you can create a vacuum with the palm of your hand. Using a solution thats 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% white vinegar after swimming can also dry the ear canal and may prevent infections caused by swimmers ear.

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    How To Spot An Infection

    Look out for these symptoms of swimmerâs ear — just in case the drying tips didnât work:

    • Itching in your ear canal
    • Redness inside your ear
    • Discomfort or pain that gets worse when you pull on your outer ear or push on the little bump in front of your ear
    • Clear, odorless fluid that drains from your ear canal

    If you do have these symptoms, your doctor may prescribe eardrops. The drops will kill the bacteria or fungus causing the infection and will ease your pain, swelling, and inflammation.

    When Your Doctor May Prescribe Antibiotics

    Middle Ear Fluid

    While every situation is unique, there are several factors that doctors consider when recommending antibiotics:

    • What they see If the infection is in the outer ear, it may be clear its caused by bacteria. In this case your doctor may recommend antibiotic eardrops to help clean out the ear infection. If your doctor cant see the ear infection because its on the inside of the ear, they may not prescribe antibiotics right away.
    • How long its been Viral infections typically go away on their own in 1-2 weeks. If the ear infection has been around for less than a week, your doctor may recommend waiting to see if the ear infection goes away on its own, a sign that its viral. If its been more than a week, your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics.
    • Your childs age The doctor may be more likely to prescribe antibiotics for children under 2 years old, especially if they have infections in both ears, have pain thats moderate to severe, or have a fever.
    • Symptoms If you or your child have certain symptoms, such as an extremely high fever or severe dehydration, your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics sooner.
    • Medical conditions Your doctor may recommend starting antibiotics right away if there are certain medical conditions, such as cleft palate or repeat infections, that could lead to problems with an ear infection. In most cases, antibiotics will also be recommended when someone with a cochlear implant gets an ear infection.

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    Dos For Getting Water Out Of Your Ears

    If you have water in your ears, take these steps to get it out safely.

    • Dry your outer ear with a soft towel or cloth. Donât stick the cloth into the canal.
    • Tip your head to one side to help water drain. Gently pull on your earlobe. This will straighten your ear canal and help the water flow.
    • Turn your blow dryer on the lowest setting and blow it toward your ear. Hold it at least a foot away.
    • Try over-the-counter drying drops.
    • To make drying drops at home, mix 1 part white vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Pour 1 teaspoon of the solution into each ear tilt your head and let it drain out.

    Ear Infection Symptoms Treatment

    Middle ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that may cause earache, temporary hearing loss, and fluid discharge. A middle ear infection that does not clear up on its own may require treatment with antibiotics.

    Middle ear infections occur mainly in early childhood, although older children and adults also get these kinds of infection. The incidence of acute ear infection in New Zealand children was recently estimated at 27%. A complication associated with middle ear infections is the retention of fluid, causing glue ear. Children should always be taken to a doctor if they have earache.

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    Where Is The Middle Ear

    The middle ear is behind the eardrum and is also home to the delicate bones that aid in hearing. These bones are the hammer , anvil and stirrup . To provide the bigger picture, lets look at the whole structure and function of the ear:

    The ear structure and function

    There are three main parts of the ear: outer, middle and inner.

    • The outer ear is the outside external ear flap and the ear canal .
    • The middle ear is the air-filled space between the eardrum and the inner ear. The middle ear houses the delicate bones that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. This is where ear infections occur.
    • The inner ear contains the snail-shaped labyrinth that converts sound vibrations received from the middle ear to electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals to the brain.

    Other nearby parts

    • The eustachian tube regulates air pressure within the middle ear, connecting it to the upper part of the throat.
    • Adenoids are small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. Adenoids help fight infection caused by bacteria that enters through the mouth.

    Treating Middle Ear Infections

    How to Unclog the Inner Ear or Eustachian Tube: 14 Steps

    The middle ear is internal. It starts behind the eardrum and goes to the oval window . It contains three tiny bones, called the ossicles, that are necessary for hearing function.

    The auditory tube runs from the middle ear to the throat. Its function is to ventilate and equalize pressure in the middle ear. Fluid from the middle ear space drains into the throat and is usually swallowed.

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