How to drain liquid from behind the ear drum

Written by lisa mooney
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How to drain liquid from behind the ear drum
Tubes may help your child's ear pain. (ear image by Dubravko Grakalic from

Fluid build-up behind the eardrum can cause tremendous pain. This condition is especially disturbing, as it occurs most often in young children and can even affect their hearing. Likewise, the draining of liquid from the middle-ear area can be tricky to achieve. Fortunately, some treatments can aid in removing the fluid to help relieve the pain.

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  1. 1

    See your physician at the first sign of ear pain. You may suspect fluid in the ear due to an infection, but your physician will need to confirm your suspicions. Generally, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics if an infection is present. A full round of antibiotics will cure the infection and may help the fluid drain as well.

  2. 2

    Wait it out if ear pain is not significant. Most fluid build-up behind the eardrum will drain completely on its own with time. Physicians often recommend continued observation by parents when their children have liquid in their ears and advise them to have the ear rechecked in their offices at periodic intervals. Relieve pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Never give aspirin to children.

  3. 3

    Consider having "tubes" placed in the child's ear if he suffers unduly from recurrent infections and fluid in the ears. This is a relatively simple operation in which a small incision is made into the eardrum. Fluid from the area is removed and then a "tube" composed of plastic or metal fits into the incision area. Hearing often improves after this procedure for children who have been long suffering with ear fluid.

  4. 4

    Try homeopathic remedies to drain ear fluid should antibiotics fail and if you are not amenable to having tubes inserted. Many believe a warm water bottle placed against the ear for an extended period of time can help drain fluid.

  5. 5

    Consult a chiropractor. Some chiropractors claim to be able to drain fluid from the ear by manipulating the soft palate gently to encourage the Eustachian tube to begin draining. Others also assess the child's neck and throat areas looking for improper alignment, which they then attempt to correct. Such realignments are said to aid in ear fluid drainage. Do not attempt these techniques yourself as you can cause injury.

Tips and warnings

  • Help prevent ear liquid build-up by keeping children away from cigarette smoke, which is a suspected cause of certain ear problems.
  • Do not use ear candling. Ear candling has not been sanctioned by the FDA. There are no controlled, scientific studies to prove its effectiveness or safety. Serious injuries have resulted from the use of this method.

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