Removing Fluid in Ears
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about removing fluid from ears. Now, when we talk about removing fluid from ears, we have to think first of all, where is this fluid? Why is it there? There are two parts of the ear that the fluid can collect in. The first is what's considered the outer or external ear. That starts way out here, at the part of the ear that you can pull on which we call the auricle and it goes down the hall and stops where the eardrum is. That's all the outer ear. Now, you may get fluid there from swimming or playing in the ocean or from just taking a bath or a shower and sometimes, it can feel little bit trapped. There are a couple of things you can do. The easiest is to lean over and shake your head. But, while you do that, you can actually open up the ear canal by pulling up and backward on that outer ear. That kind of un-connects the canal and makes a little bit more room for water to run out. You can also use some sort of wicking to get it out. You can just roll up a piece of tissue and just touch it to the edge of the ear canal. You don't want to jam something way down in there, you can cause obstruction, you could put wax up against the eardrum. You can scrape the inside of the ear canal really easily; it's not made for contact for the outside world. It's very easily damage. So, don't put something down in the canal. But, just touch a little wick to the outside of the canal and the water should run out. Now, if the canal is becoming painful or clogged up or hurts every time you move the ear, you maybe getting a swimmer's ear. That's probably going to need antibiotics. Early on, you can try an alcohol, vinegar or peroxide solution to try and make it better. But, if it's getting to be really painful or you have drainage or you're having tough time hearing, it's probably time to see a doctor and get antibiotic drops. Now, the other part of the ear where fluid can collect is what we call the middle ear. That's where the bones inside the earlobe that conducts sound to the nerves that generate the sound signals together with the brain. The middle ear is essentially a close chamber that has one opening, the Eustachian tube which leads from this cavern inside the skull down into the nose and drains up inside the nose. That allows both fluid and air to enter and leave the canal. Whenever the Eustachian tube gets blocked up, for example if you have a cold or if you've been flying on an airplane, you may get a build up of pressure or fluid inside the middle ear. Now, a couple of things can make that better. A couple of squirts of Afrin up the nose, a nasal decongestant; I wouldn't do that for more than a couple of days however because that can lead to a, having a really hard time stopping using Afrin, stop using it, you know, since it's a decongestant. So, that's a very very short term solution. Otherwise, if you're having a cold, sometimes you just have to wait for the cold to get better. If you're teenager or an adult, you can try Pseudoephedrine or Phenylephrine; it's not clear if those things do a whole lot, but, they may help some people some of the time. Now, if the eardrum becomes painful or you're having fevers or drainage, again, you might have a little ear infection. You're going to want a doctor to work in your ear and see what he or she sees and see if antibiotics might be helpful in that case. Talking about getting fluid out of your ear, I am Dr. David Hill.