Most people will have experienced fluid in their ear at some point during their lives. It is especially common for people to experience the condition during their childhood years. This article will let you know how to easily and safely remove this fluid and to overcome the discomfort it causes.
What Causes Fluid in The Ear?
Fluid in the ear, a condition also known as SOM – serous otitis media or OME – otitis media with effusion. It typically occurs because of some type of ear infection but can also occur when the auditory tube or the Eustachian tube is impaired. The Eustachian tube helps the drainage of fluids from the ears to the rear of your throat. The problems occur when the Eustachian tube gets clogged causing fluid to become trapped within the middle ear area.
Many children or adults that experience the condition do not have any symptoms. In around half of all cases of OME the children and their caregivers reports no symptoms at all. However, there are some common signs and symptoms including the following:
- mild pain in the ear
- hearing loss
- delayed language development
- balance issues (vertigo)
- delayed motor skills
Who Does it Effect?
Anybody can get fluid in the ear at any time of life but young children are far more at risk because of the anatomy of the Eustachian tube. As you would expect, the auditory tube in children is a different shape. It is more horizontal and smaller in diameter than that of an adult.
According to estimates, over 2 million cases are reported in the U.S.A every year and up to 90% of all children will experience fluid in the ears before reaching school age.
While fluid in the ear may not be a serious issue, it can lead to other more serious complaints such as ear infection, balance issues, hearing loss, nausea and vomiting.
In most cases, the body clears up the fluid of its own accord but it may require medical intervention to expedite the process. Another option is to try one of the many home remedies for clearing up the fluid from your ears.
Here are some of the best methods that you can easily try at home.
1) Steam Treatment Method
A simple steam treatment done at home can be extremely effective. Applying steam to the ear can help open up your Eustachian tubes which helps the fluid drain from the middle ear as it should.
- First, fill a bowl up with hot boiling water.
- Place a towel over your head and your ear above the bowl. Make sure that you do not get close enough to scald yourself.
- Keep your ear in place for around 10 minutes but if you can not tolerate the heat or you are feeling dizzy, simply stop until you feel better.
- Add a few drops of an anti-inflammatory essential oil like tea tree oil or some herbs such as chamomile to the water for even greater effect.
Even the steam from a hot shower may be sufficient to help remove the fluid in your ear. Make sure that you let the steam build up well before entering the shower.
Commercial decongestants can also help unclog the auditory passage helping fluid flow more freely. After taking the decongestant medication, it can help to lay on your side to allow the fluid to flow out.
3. Gravity Can Help
While you should always see your doctor to perform a real drainage procedure, you can try to find temporary relief in the comfort of your own home by making use of gravity.
- Either lay down or tilt your head with your affected ear facing downwards.This will allow the fluid to drain from your ear.
- Gently move the head while giving your earlobe some gentle tugs to help open up the canal.
This method may help to remove some of the fluid but if you feel that there is still some in place, make sure that you do not try scooping it out. Do not use cotton swabs to dig around inside your ear as they can cause more harm. If this simple method fails, try using the steam treatment instead.
4) Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol Drops
Vinegar and rubbing alcohol are often recommended to clean the ears, remove wax and to help prevent infections. This combination can also work to clear out fluid from the ear. This solution works as an effective drying agent while it also has antibacterial properties.
- Mix a small amount of white vinegar with an equal amount of rubbing alcohol.
- Place the mixture into a sterile eye dropper.
- Put 3 to 4 drops of the solution into your affected ear.
These ingredients are considered safe for use and are often recommended by doctors to clean the ears. However, if the procedure does not work for you and the condition persists, make sure that you see a doctor.
5) Neti Pot
Neti pots are a lovely, simple device that no parent should be without. They can easily help relieve your child’s sinus issues and congestion and may even help relieve ear conditions like fluid build up. Neti pots help to flush the nasal passage and thin out any mucus and if your ear problems are caused by colds or congestion, they can do a great deal to help.
Neti pots are cheap and readily available at most pharmacies.
- Prepare a saline solution with a teaspoon of table salt and some lukewarm water (sterilized).
- Put the solution in your neti pot.
- Lean your head to one side and place the tip of the neti pot in your nostril so that the solution flows through the nasal cavity.
- The procedure can be a bit messy so make sure you do it over a sink or bowl to catch the fluid as it drains.your neti pot.
Do not use tap water and make sure that it is sterilized before using your neti pot to avoid the risk of further infections.
6) Chewing and Yawning
There can not be a more simple solution to ear fluid than simply chewing or yawning. Chewing on gum or some other type of chewy food can actually help expand the Eustachian tube allowing the fluid to flow better. As you chew, it will probably help to tilt the affected ear downwards which will help gravity play its natural role.
7) Use a Humidifier
When the air in your home is dry, it can cause infections to worsen and prevent infected areas from draining properly. Placing a humidifier in the bedroom near the bed can help keep the air moist and encourage healing. Making sure that it is near your affected ear can encourage the Eustachian tubes to open up and allow the fluid to drain as it should.
Humidifiers are also a great help for people with allergies and allergies often lead to congestion and fluid in the ear.
If none of these methods work for you, then it is time to see the doctor to perform a formal procedure.
You should also make sure you seek medical advice if you are suffering extreme pain or hearing loss or if there is blood in your ear fluid.