Water in the ear – how dangerous is it and how is the way out?

The skin is hot, the hair smelling of chlorine, the bag is filled with Sand and the ear with water. So it must be after a successful summer day. Time for some Gymnastics: for example, on one leg, lean your head to the side and start with one ear in the direction of the floor inclined to hop on one leg, until the water runs out of the ear. In the summer, the bathroom is to the circus ring, the theatre has its relevance.

“Water itself is not a Problem for the ear,” says Roland Laszig, Director of the clinic for ear, nose and throat medicine of the University clinic of Freiburg. “Sick it can make but, if it is dirty.” Then a inflammation threatening in the outer ear canal. Culprits are usually bacteria, which chlorine and salt can harm them. They cavort in nearly all waters, in swimming pools, but the most frequently.

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Under normal circumstances, the bacteria would be problematic for a healthy ear, the water, however, the protective function of the hearing organs attacks in addition. It collects in front of the eardrum in a small Pit and facilitates bacterial access. “Through the water, the skin softens,” explains Dr. Dr. Laszig. “The bacteria can then invade undisturbed into the tissue.” In addition, the liquid weakens in the ear is a second important safety device: the ear wax.

Glands in the outer ear canal, but the viscous liquid, which then takes over several tasks. Earwax repels water, moisturizes the skin and carries dirt, dead skin cells and foreign materials from the ear. Due to its bitter taste, many bacteria and insects, deters it, furthermore, it contains an enzyme that destroys micro-organisms.

Inflamed ear: In the recess in front of the eardrum, the water collects

Of all the people, the flush in the summer in pools, lakes and at sea water into the ear, but only a minority of problems with an inflamed ear canal. According to an analysis of the US health authority average of eight to suffer in the U.S. under 1000 patients who visit an outpatient clinic or emergency ward, under an inflamed ear, i.e. 0.8 percent. How many people become ill because they had water in the ear, is, however, unclear. “It is striking, however, is that in the summer, more patients come into the clinic,” says Dr. Dr. Laszig. The data from the USA confirm.

How you get all the water out of the ear out

In any case, you should carry the water to the bath, again from the ear. To do this, almost everything is allowed: jump, turn, on the side or under-pressure in the outer ear canal produce. The latter works best, by pressing the flat Hand on the ear and let go. “The Only thing that is absolutely prohibited, is any object or swab into the ear,” said Laszig. “They are also for everyday care of completely superfluous.”

The rods carry lard in the ears, and thus dust and bacteria deeper into the ear, where the long-term graft against the eardrum may form, which must be removed by the doctor. “The wax always flows to the outside,” said Laszig. “Back pushes you to work against the nature of the body. This is almost never healthy.” It was sufficient to keep the output with the tip of a towel or a Handkerchief to clean.

Be especially careful with the bath water, people whose ears are already damaged should be. “Be careful with water especially people with a leaky drum have to,” said Laszig. The water-and with it, the bacteria can run into the middle ear. Concerned should, therefore, protect extra, for example, by earplugs, and as a precaution go to the doctor when inflammation is developing.


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Also, who had after the bath, often an ear canal inflammation or often and long in the water, it can caution wear half a pair of earplugs. In addition, or as an independent measure of precaution the natural protective functions of the ear with so-called diver drops of thicknesses. They are acid from the alcohol, Glycerin and vinegar. “Glycerol is water-repellent and protects the ear wax and the skin,” explains Dr. Dr. Laszig. “The acid creates an uncomfortable environment for bacteria.”

Who wants to do his ear, anything else Good, it should according to the experts alone. “I mean that literally,” said Laszig. Although the connection between high noise exposure and hearing loss is not demonstrated clearly. There is a lot of but. “At a rock concert, noise can not be avoided,” says the expert. “The MP3 Player, you do not need to turn up but not necessarily.” And a wet ear, you do not need to bubble, contrary to a much-quoted piece of advice in the Internet, necessarily with a loud hair dryer dry.

Conclusion: water in the ear is usually not a problem, only it should not stay too long in there. Out, shaking, hopping or by using print out carry is allowed. The ear canal with a cotton swab to edit, however, strictly prohibited.

More on the topic of ear canal inflammation, you can find here.