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A 28-year-old male asked:

Can not hear out of my right ear after swimming please help i went swimming, then about 2 hours later i used a q tip because i hear water sloshing around, my hearing became instantly muffled, there was no pain involved and 3 days later its still muffled w

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Isaac Namdar
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 28 years experience
The : The external ear canal is a long and narrow tube that ends in the eardrum. Earwax is usually produced in the mid-section, and generally comes out slowly with the growth of ear canal skin. Water from swimming or shower can enter the ear canal inadvertantly. If the ear canal is completely clean, this water will most likely evaporate spontanously over the next few hours. However, if there is already some earwax (cerumen) in the ear, the water can get trapped in the earwax. Earwax is typically found in the ear in a dehydrated state, and exposure to water can make it re-hydrate and expand. This will then lead to a further sensation of blockage. If attempt is made to use q-tips, the earwax could often be pushed further in, and complete blockage of the ears can result. Your best bet at this point is to remove the earwax and liquid in order to restore your hearing and prevent infection. This could be accomplished by over the counter peroxide-based ear washing systems. Alternatively, your doctor can remove this for you in the office and determone if any further treatments and medications are needed.
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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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