How to Relieve Fluid in Ears

Updated February 21, 2017

Fluid build-up in the ears can cause earaches and discomfort, and can affect the ability to hear. Eventually, the fluid likely will cause an ear infection, a condition easily treated by a physician. If fluid continues to build up inside the ears, it can burst and fluid will leak out of the middle ear. To prevent this from happening, there are options to relieve fluid in ears.

Wait and see. Fluid build-up in the ears usually resolves itself in about a week without any medical intervention. If the fluid build-up is so bad that fluid begins to leak out of the middle ear, there's still no cause for alarm. Ear infections that cause the ear to leak fluid usually resolve themselves within three days. You may experience discomfort while you wait it out, but eventually time will relieve fluid in ears. If you choose to wait and see, you might consider visiting the doctor after your symptoms go away to make sure everything looks healthy.

Take an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics can help fight the infection caused when fluid builds up in the ears. Fluid build-up in the ear occurs when the cilia that line the eustachian tube become inactive. Taking erythromycin antibiotics can help stimulate the cilia, encouraging the fluid to drain.

Try to relieve the pain with over-the-counter pain medication. Antibiotics will help get rid of the infection, allowing the fluid to drain in the ear, but antibiotics don't take care of the discomfort caused by fluid build-up. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve the pain while you wait for the fluid to drain.

Consider surgery. If ear infections are a chronic issue, occurring several times over the course of a year, ask your doctor about a pressure equalisation or tympanostomy tube. Doctors can insert a tube in each ear which opens up the eustachian tube, allowing fluid to drain through the tube instead of building up and causing infection. Surgery is highly effective with minimal side effects. However, it's only for people who have chronic fluid build-up in the ear.

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About the Author

Kristan Hart is an award-winning journalist in Springfield, Mo., who provides SEO web copy as a freelance writer/editor. She has a decade of experience and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.