Wondering how to get fluid out of your ear?  Read on.

Ear aches and infection are common side effects of basic ear, nose, and throat illnesses. If you get an ear infection one common symptom is fluid in the middle ear. Other causes for fluid in your middle ear could be allergies, sinus infections, viral infections, and even acid reflux. As your earache and infection subsides the fluid doesn’t always leave the middle ear. The inflammation from the ear infection often causes the lining of the eustachian tube to swell shut - this can cause your ear to feel clogged. If you know how to drain fluid from middle ear at home you can avoid a trip to the doctor, sometimes you will need a simple prescription. Other times, surgical intervention is needed.

Anatomy of the middle ear

The human ear is divided into three sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The middle ear is connected to your throat by the ear canal, otherwise known as the eustachian tube. The main job of the eustachian tube is to keep the air pressure in the middle ear at the same level as your outer ear. When the eustachian tube cannot maintain equal pressure levels between inside and outside, you begin feeling a clogged-ear sensation. 

Home Remedies

How to drain ear fluid at home is not difficult. Normally,  the simple act of swallowing will open and close the eustachian tube, allowing it to drain any fluid buildup. However, when your eustachian tubes swell shut, swallowing isn’t always enough, and your body needs a little extra help getting the eustachian tube open again. You often will feel the urge to yawn, chew, or drink water to “pop” your ears when they feel full or plugged. Another home remedy is to put a warm compress over your ear or just behind the ear where the neck and the jaw meet.

Over the counter medication

If you have an earache, they aren’t pleasant, so many doctors recommend beginning treatment with an anti-inflammatory such as: Ibuprofen, Naproxen sodium, or Acetaminophen. While these won’t clear up an infection or remove the fluid from the inner ear, they will alleviate the pain until the body fights off your infection.

Taking a decongestant like Sudafed or Benadryl may help relieve some of the symptoms, especially if the  infection is caused by a sinus infection, allergies, or a cold. These medications will help reduce the symptoms and the pain, but they do not treat the condition. Be sure to see a healthcare provider if your ear infection does not improve. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to take Sudafed, as this can affect blood pressure and heart rate.

Prescribed medication

If the fluid in your ear was caused by an infection then your doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic. The most common antibiotic is amoxicillin-clavulanate unless you have a penicillin allergy. Those with penicillin allergies will likely be given azithromycin or cefdinir.


If you don’t respond to antibiotics or continue to struggle with how to drain fluid from ear, you may receive the recommendation for a surgical procedure called a myringotomy. This is a simple in-patient procedure, without anything more than a topical anesthetic to keep the procedure pain free. During this procedure, your healthcare provider will create a small hole in your eardrum to drain out the fluid. Sometimes the healthcare provider will place a tube to keep this from happening again - this is frequently called “getting tubes in your ear.”

Shop ScopeAround

If you are concerned about your ear health and how to get fluid out of your ear it makes great sense to invest in a digital otoscope to keep an eye on your outer ear.

ScopeAround brought the first digital otoscope with camera for consumers to the market over five years ago so we have more experience and customer feedback to make the best digital otoscopes available.

We make a complete range of digital otoscope products including free-standing models to USB-connected, Lightning cable-connected, and WiFi-connected devices with an otoscope camera app for your mobile device.


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