How To Drain Fluid From Middle Ear At Home
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eustachian tube
External and middle ear. Eustachian tube labelled as auditory tube.
Middle ear, with auditory tube at bottom right
Precursor first pharyngeal pouch
Latin Tuba auditiva, tuba auditivea, tuba auditoria
MeSH D005064
TA98 A15.3.02.073
TA2 6926
FMA 9705
Anatomical terminology

In anatomy, the Eustachian tube (), also called the auditory tube or pharyngotympanic tube, is a tube that links the nasopharynx to the middle ear, of which it is also a part. In adult humans, the Eustachian tube is approximately 35 mm (1.4 in) long and 3 mm (0.12 in) in diameter.

It is named after the sixteenth-century Italian anatomist Bartolomeo Eustachi, In humans and other tetrapods, both the middle ear and the ear canal are normally filled with air. Unlike the air of the ear canal, however, the air of the middle ear is not in direct contact with the atmosphere outside the body; thus, a pressure difference can develop between the atmospheric pressure of the ear canal and the middle ear.

Normally, the Eustachian tube is collapsed, but it gapes open with swallowing and with positive pressure, allowing the middle ear’s pressure to adjust to the atmospheric pressure. When taking off in an aircraft, the ambient air pressure goes from higher (on the ground) to lower (in the sky).

The air in the middle ear expands as the plane gains altitude, and pushes its way into the back of the nose and mouth; on the way down, the volume of air in the middle ear shrinks, and a slight vacuum is produced. Active opening of the Eustachian tube (through actions like swallowing or the Valsalva maneuver ) is required to equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the ambient atmosphere as the plane descends.

A diver also experiences this change in pressure, but with greater rates of pressure change; active opening of the Eustachian tube is required more frequently as the diver goes deeper, into higher pressure.

How do you get trapped fluid out of your middle ear?

How to Drain Fluid From the Middle Ear? – The following are the methods to drain fluid from the middle ear:

Pop the Ear – There is a tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the throat called the eustachian tube so that the fluid from the middle ear naturally drains to the throat through this tube. But in case of an infection or other conditions, the tube swells, and thus, the fluid cannot drain as it normally does, which will cause the fluid to back up.

Popping the ear can help to open the eustachian tube, which will allow the fluid to drain. The simplest way to pop the ears is by yawning, chewing, or swallowing. The other way to pop open the ear is called the Valsalva maneuver.

  1. Take a deep breath and hold it.
  2. Gently pinch the nose shut.
  3. Slowly and gently exhale through the nose.

There will be a pop sound when the eustachian tube opens.

Vacuum – If the ear does not open with the above technique, then do the following:

Cup the hand over the ear so that the palm covers the entire ear. Then press the palm over the ear so that it creates a seal. After that, with gentle movement, move the palm in and out so as to create a pulsatile vacuum in the ear. So, when pressing the palm in, pressure will be felt in the ear. Then there will be a pop sound when the eustachian tube opens.

Saltwater Gargle – Doctors mostly recommend gargling with saltwater, which can help to drain fluid from the ears. There are several advantages to this like the saltwater will help to soothe and shrink the swollen tissue and help to resolve throat pain which may cause earaches. Apart from that, as the eustachian tube is connected to the back of the throat, a saltwater gargle will resolve the swelling and allow the fluid trapped to drain. Also, the saltwater gargle will also help to pop open the ears and allow the water to drain. For saltwater gargle, add a teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water and stir to dissolve the salt in the water. Take a mouthful of saltwater, keep the throat closed, and tilt the head back. Gargle for 30 seconds to one minute.

Eardrops – The idea of introducing fluid into the ear may seem to contradict, but it will resolve the condition. One can use over-the-counter medicines for this.

Mucus Thinning Medications – This will help to drain the fluid from the ear by thinning the mucus in the body. Take a product with Guaifenesin only and take the medication as mentioned by the manufacturer’s directions. They may come in many forms, like tablets, which need to be taken every four hours, and extended-release tablets which need to be taken every 12 hours. Check for the composition carefully, as Guaifenesin is mostly combined with other medications, such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, and decongestants.

Steroid Nasal Spray – Manage any underlying allergies, as they can also affect the ear. Over-the-counter nasal steroids can help to open the eustachian tube and help to drain the fluid from the ear. They work by reducing the inflammation in the nose, which will help to drain fluid from the eustachian tube. But it may take up to a few days to show its effect.

Decongestants – Over-the-counter decongestants are available as nasal sprays or as oral medications, which can be purchased from pharmacies. Also, follow the instructions provided on their label. The nasal decongestants should not be used for more than three consecutive days. Their long-term usage has shown rebound swelling of the nasal passages. There may be other side effects in children, like hyperactivity, restlessness, and insomnia. Consult a doctor before taking nasal decongestants.

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Oral Antihistamines – Oral antihistamines might be useful for some people for cleaning a sinus infection as they can ease nasal congestion, But there are some serious side effects of oral antihistamines for the sinus, like drying up of the mucous membranes and thickening of the secretions from the nose. So before taking antihistamines, consult a doctor to find out whether they will be useful for the condition. Also, it is advised to treat uncomplicated sinusitis or ear infections. Confusion, drowsiness, blurred vision, moodiness, or overstimulation are some other side effects of antihistamines.

Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever – Some doctors might also suggest taking over-the-counter pain relievers like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to help ease the pain and discomfort. But follow the instructions mentioned on the label of the medicine.

Will middle ear fluid go away?

What is otitis media with effusion? – Otitis media is a generic term that refers to an inflammation of the middle ear. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum. Otitis media with effusion means there is fluid (effusion) in the middle ear, without an infection.

  1. Fluid in the middle ear can have few symptoms, especially if it develops slowly.
  2. It almost always goes away on its own in a few weeks to a few months.
  3. So, this kind of ear problem doesn’t usually need to be treated with antibiotics.
  4. Your doctor may decide to treat it if it causes a painful infection or if the fluid doesn’t go away.

Otitis media with effusion is most common in young children, age 2 and under. But it can affect people of any age.

How long does fluid stay in middle ear?

In most cases, the fluid clears up within a few months without treatment. You may need more tests if the fluid does not clear up after 3 months. For adults, decongestants that you take by mouth or spray into your nose may be helpful.

What draws fluid out of ears?

Pop Your Ears – Fluid naturally drains from the middle ear to the throat through the eustachian tube. But if an infection or irritation is present, that tube can swell. This causes fluid to back up. Popping your ears can help open the eustachian tube, allowing fluid to drain.

  1. Take a deep breath and hold it.
  2. Gently pinch your nose shut.
  3. Slowly and gently exhale through your nose.

You may hear a pop when the eustachian tube opens.

How do you massage a eustachian tube to drain?

Eustachian tube massage – Use your finger to find a bony bump behind your ear lobe. Using firm, steady pressure, slide your finger down until you feel a groove between your ear lobe and jaw. Trace that groove all the way down your neck to your collarbone using the same firm pressure. Repeat this process three times on each side, three times a day.

How do I know if my middle ear is draining?

What are the symptoms of otorrhea? – The main symptom of otorrhea is drainage from your ear. This drainage may be odorless or it may smell foul. It can be thin or thick in consistency and clear, yellowish or green in color. Other common otorrhea symptoms include:

  • Ear pain,
  • Itching.
  • Ringing in your ear ( tinnitus ).

Some people develop more serious symptoms, including:

  • Fever,
  • Redness (erythema) of the skin around your ear.
  • Hearing loss,
  • Cranial nerve dysfunction, such as difficulty swallowing, speaking or seeing.
  • Vertigo,

These people may have also had a history of recent head trauma. People who have diabetes or a compromised immune system have a higher risk for complications. Be sure to call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the symptoms listed above.

Can fluid be trapped in middle ear for months?

Types of Middle Ear Infections – Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways, including:

Acute otitis media: A sudden infection where fluid and pus get trapped under the eardrum. Symptoms may include swelling, redness, fever, and pain. Chronic otitis media: An ongoing or recurring infection over months to years. It is usually not painful but can involve hearing loss. The ear canal may drain liquid. Otitis media with effusion: After an infection goes away, fluid (effusion) and mucus build up, causing your ear to “feel full.” This can go on for months and may affect hearing. Chronic otitis media with effusion: Fluid (effusion) remains in the middle ear for a long time or builds up repeatedly, even though there is no infection. This may also affect hearing.

Why does fluid get trapped in middle ear?

Otitis media with effusion (OME) is thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear. It occurs without an ear infection, The Eustachian tube connects the inside of the ear to the back of the throat. This tube helps drain fluid to prevent it from building up in the ear. The fluid drains from the tube and is swallowed. OME and ear infections are connected in two ways:

After most ear infections have been treated, fluid (an effusion) remains in the middle ear for a few days or weeks.When the Eustachian tube is partially blocked, fluid builds up in the middle ear, Bacteria inside the ear become trapped and begin to grow. This may lead to an ear infection.

The following can cause swelling of the Eustachian tube lining that leads to increased fluid in the middle ear:

Allergies Irritants (particularly cigarette smoke) Respiratory infections

The following can cause the Eustachian tube to close or become blocked:

Drinking while lying on your backSudden increases in air pressure (such as descending in an airplane or on a mountain road)

Getting water in a baby’s ears will not lead to a blocked Eustachian tube. OME is most common in winter or early spring, but it can occur at any time of year. It can affect people of any age. It occurs most often in children under age 2, but is rare in newborns. Younger children get OME more often than older children or adults for several reasons:

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The tube is shorter, more horizontal, and straighter, making it easier for bacteria to enter.The tube is floppier, with a tinier opening that’s easy to block.Young children get more colds because it takes time for the immune system to be able to recognize and ward off cold viruses.

The fluid in OME is often thin and watery. In the past, it was thought that the fluid got thicker the longer it was present in the ear. (“Glue ear” is a common name given to OME with thick fluid.) However, fluid thickness is now thought to be related to the ear itself, rather than to how long the fluid is present.

  • Unlike children with an ear infection, children with OME do not act sick.
  • OME often does not have obvious symptoms.
  • Older children and adults often complain of muffled hearing or a sense of fullness in the ear.
  • Younger children may turn up the television volume because of hearing loss.
  • The health care provider may find OME while checking your child’s ears after an ear infection has been treated.

The provider will examine the eardrum and look for certain changes, such as:

Air bubbles on the surface of the eardrumDullness of the eardrum when a light is usedEardrum that does not seem to move when little puffs of air are blown at itFluid behind the eardrum

A test called tympanometry is an accurate tool for diagnosing OME. The results of this test can help tell the amount and thickness of the fluid. The fluid in the middle ear can be accurately detected with:

Acoustic otoscopeReflectometer – a portable device

An audiometer or other type of formal hearing test may be done. This can help the provider decide on treatment. Most providers will not treat OME at first, unless there are also signs of an infection. Instead, they will recheck the problem in 2 to 3 months. You can make the following changes to help clear up the fluid behind the eardrum:

Avoid cigarette smokeEncourage infants to breastfeedTreat allergies by staying away from triggers (such as dust). Adults and older children may be given allergy medicines.

Most often the fluid will clear on its own. Your provider may suggest watching the condition for a while to see if it is getting worse before recommending treatment. If the fluid is still present after 6 weeks, the provider may recommend:

Continuing to watch the problemA hearing testA single trial of antibiotics (if they were not given earlier)

If the fluid is still present at 8 to 12 weeks, antibiotics may be tried. These medicines are not always helpful. At some point, the child’s hearing should be tested. If there is significant hearing loss (more than 20 decibels), antibiotics or ear tubes might be needed.

  • If the fluid is still present after 4 to 6 months, tubes are probably needed, even if there is no major hearing loss.
  • Sometimes the adenoids must be taken out for the Eustachian tube to work properly.
  • OME most often goes away on its own over a few weeks or months.
  • Treatment may speed up this process.
  • Glue ear may not clear up as quickly as OME with a thinner fluid.

OME is most often not life threatening. Most children do not have long-term damage to their hearing or speaking ability, even when the fluid remains for many months. Contact your provider if:

You think you or your child might have OME. (You should continue to watch the condition until the fluid has disappeared.)New symptoms develop during or after treatment for this disorder.

Helping your child reduce the risk of ear infections can help prevent OME. OME; Secretory otitis media; Serous otitis media; Silent otitis media; Silent ear infection; Glue ear Kerschner JE, Preciado D. Otitis media. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds.

Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics,21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 658. Pelton SI. Otitis externa, otitis media, and mastoiditis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases,9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 61.

Rosenfeld RM, Shin JJ, Schwartz SR, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Otitis media with effusion executive summary (update). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg,2016;154(2):201-214. PMID: 26833645, Schilder AGM, Rosenfeld RM, Venekamp RP.

Acute otitis media and otitis media with effusion. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery,7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 199. Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.

Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

Does heat help drain ear fluid?

Warm Compress – To alleviate pain, one of the most common home remedies for earache doctors often recommend is using a warm compress. This can help to loosen congestion, loosen fluid in the ear, and ease any ear discomfort. Creating a warm compress is simple.

  1. Just soak a washcloth in warm water, wring out excess water, fold it, and place it on the affected ear for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. But be careful, as an overly hot washcloth could cause a burn.
  3. You can also create a warm compress from a heating pad or warmed gel pack.
  4. Wrap a towel around your heating pad, set it to a low setting, and place it on top of the sore ear.

To be safe, you can also use a towel with a warmed gel pack.

How do adults drain fluid from ears?

A myringotomy is a procedure to create a hole in the ear drum to allow fluid that is trapped in the middle ear to drain out. The fluid may be blood, pus and/or water. In many cases, a small tube is inserted into the hole in the ear drum to help maintain drainage.

How do you drain an eustachian tube naturally?

Can Eustachian tube dysfunction be prevented or avoided? – Reduce your risk of developing this condition by treating the underlying cause of the blockage. This is usually allergies, a cold, or the flu. Symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction usually go away without treatment.

You can do exercises to open up the tubes. This includes swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum. You can help relieve the “full ear” feeling by taking a deep breath, pinching your nostrils closed, and “blowing” with your mouth shut. If you think your baby may have Eustachian tube dysfunction, feed him or her.

You can also give them a pacifier. These encourage the swallow reflex. If these strategies don’t help, your doctor may suggest other options. These can include:

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Using a decongestant to reduce the swelling of the lining of the tubes Taking an antihistamine or using a steroid nasal spray to reduce any allergic response Making a tiny incision in the eardrum and suctioning out the fluid in the middle ear. This gives the Eustachian tube lining time to shrink while the eardrum is healing (usually 1 to 3 days). Implanting small tubes in the eardrums. These let built-up fluid drain out of the middle ear. Children who get a lot of ear infections sometimes get tubes in their ears. They stay in up to 18 months and fall out on their own. Using a balloon dilation system. A doctor will use a catheter (long, flexible tube) to insert a small balloon through your nose and into the Eustachian tube. When it is inflated, the balloon opens a pathway for mucus and air to flow through the tube. This can help it function properly.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against the use of ear candles (inserting a special candle in the ear). It is supposed to pull wax and debris out of your ear as it burns. Ear candles can cause serious injuries and there is no evidence to support their effectiveness.

How do you massage a Eustachian tube to drain?

Eustachian tube massage – Use your finger to find a bony bump behind your ear lobe. Using firm, steady pressure, slide your finger down until you feel a groove between your ear lobe and jaw. Trace that groove all the way down your neck to your collarbone using the same firm pressure. Repeat this process three times on each side, three times a day.

Is fluid in the middle ear serious?

Related conditions – Conditions of the middle ear that may be related to an ear infection or result in similar middle ear problems include:

Otitis media with effusion, or swelling and fluid buildup (effusion) in the middle ear without bacterial or viral infection. This may occur because the fluid buildup persists after an ear infection has gotten better. It may also occur because of some dysfunction or noninfectious blockage of the eustachian tubes. Chronic otitis media with effusion, occurs when fluid remains in the middle ear and continues to return without bacterial or viral infection. This makes children susceptible to new ear infections and may affect hearing. Chronic suppurative otitis media, an ear infection that doesn’t go away with the usual treatments. This can lead to a hole in the eardrum.

Risk factors for ear infections include:

Age. Children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years are more susceptible to ear infections because of the size and shape of their eustachian tubes and because their immune systems are still developing. Group child care. Children cared for in group settings are more likely to get colds and ear infections than are children who stay home. The children in group settings are exposed to more infections, such as the common cold. Infant feeding. Babies who drink from a bottle, especially while lying down, tend to have more ear infections than do babies who are breast-fed. Seasonal factors. Ear infections are most common during the fall and winter. People with seasonal allergies may have a greater risk of ear infections when pollen counts are high. Poor air quality. Exposure to tobacco smoke or high levels of air pollution can increase the risk of ear infections. Alaska Native heritage. Ear infections are more common among Alaska Natives. Cleft palate. Differences in the bone structure and muscles in children who have cleft palates may make it more difficult for the eustachian tube to drain.

Most ear infections don’t cause long-term complications. Ear infections that happen again and again can lead to serious complications:

Impaired hearing. Mild hearing loss that comes and goes is fairly common with an ear infection, but it usually gets better after the infection clears. Ear infections that happen again and again, or fluid in the middle ear, may lead to more-significant hearing loss. If there is some permanent damage to the eardrum or other middle ear structures, permanent hearing loss may occur. Speech or developmental delays. If hearing is temporarily or permanently impaired in infants and toddlers, they may experience delays in speech, social and developmental skills. Spread of infection. Untreated infections or infections that don’t respond well to treatment can spread to nearby tissues. Infection of the mastoid, the bony protrusion behind the ear, is called mastoiditis. This infection can result in damage to the bone and the formation of pus-filled cysts. Rarely, serious middle ear infections spread to other tissues in the skull, including the brain or the membranes surrounding the brain (meningitis). Tearing of the eardrum. Most eardrum tears heal within 72 hours. In some cases, surgical repair is needed.

The following tips may reduce the risk of developing ear infections:

Prevent common colds and other illnesses. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly and to not share eating and drinking utensils. Teach your children to cough or sneeze into their elbow. If possible, limit the time your child spends in group child care. A child care setting with fewer children may help. Try to keep your child home from child care or school when ill. Avoid secondhand smoke. Make sure that no one smokes in your home. Away from home, stay in smoke-free environments. Breast-feed your baby. If possible, breast-feed your baby for at least six months. Breast milk contains antibodies that may offer protection from ear infections. If you bottle-feed, hold your baby in an upright position. Avoid propping a bottle in your baby’s mouth while he or she is lying down. Don’t put bottles in the crib with your baby. Talk to your doctor about vaccinations. Ask your doctor about what vaccinations are appropriate for your child. Seasonal flu shots, pneumococcal and other bacterial vaccines may help prevent ear infections.

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