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So, you, or someone you care enough about to do some research for, has sand in their ear.
Fret no more! I’ve got just the solution for you. As a mother of three, I’ve had my share of beach-related ear traumas.
Take note, though:
I am not a medical practitioner, so if your ear pain is persistent or is peculiar to just having and in your ear, please do seek proper medical attention.
That said, I do have some motherly wisdom and a whole lot of experience. So if you’re completely convinced that your issue is just an irritating case of stubborn sand, read on.
First of all, never use a Q-tip. You could just end up pushing the sand particles even deeper into your ear, which could lead to them getting stuck there for longer, or even a nasty infection!
4 Ways to Actually Get the Sand Out
I’m going to stick to old-reliable first. And if this proves unsuccessful, we can move on to more invasive (but still relatively simple) methods.
1. Tilt It, Pull It
The best way to get sand out of your ear is to tilt your head to the side while pulling on your earlobe to help open up your ear canal. Do this for a little while until the sand comes out.
You could also try just some warm (boiled and cooled or distilled) water. Leave that in your ear briefly, and then let it run out (hopefully with the sand).
IF both of these are unsuccessful, there’s another non-invasive remedy, and it’s called…
2. The Wonders of Saline
We all know of saline solution as that awesome way of rinsing your sinuses, but did you know that it’s also pretty good at cleaning your ears?
Not only does salt (saline) have the ability to kill bacteria, but it’s also incredibly effective at flushing out things from you, like allergens.
Gently spray some of this solution (which is available at most pharmacies) into your ear. Wait for just a few minutes whilst keeping it in with some cotton wool, and then remove the wool and let it out.
This should help move the sand out of your ear (and any excess earwax you might have).
Just be sure not to leave the solution in your ear for too long!
3. Getting More Invasive
I wish getting sand out of ears were as simple as getting it out of your clothes. Alas, sometimes it just gets pretty tricky.
You’ve tried gentle encouraging through ear-pulling (that sounds a bit odd). And you’ve bought and used a saline solution, but no luck.
There is a third option.
It’s a great antiseptic, and it’ll do that much better at killing that bacteria that causes the painful swimmer’s ear. (More on that later.)
But when you do use it, be extra careful. Putting a solution that is too strong, or for too long can damage your ear.
You’re going to want to lie down on your side. You’ll also need an ear dropper and no more than a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
Drop somewhere around 2 ml into your ear and wait for no more than 5 minutes.
When you’re done let it all drip out into your basin, or onto a hand towel.
4. But, What if it’s My Kid?
Unfortunately, kids can even get sand in their ear while playing in a sandbox!
All the above methods are perfectly safe to use in children. But do so gently.
The only thing you never want to do, and I have to repeat this, is insert anything into your or your child’s ear (such as a Q-tip). T as this can worsen the problem, and push the sand further into your ear.
This could lead to the infamous swimmer’s ear.
Ouch! What’s a Swimmer’s Ear?
It’s a bacterial infection of your outer ear canal and a surfer’s biggest nightmare.
Looking out for these symptoms is important:
- Itchiness in your ear
- Blockage and/or muffled hearing
- Facial pain
Now obviously these symptoms can mimic other conditions of the ear. And that’s why it’s important to get evaluated by a medical practitioner if you notice more of these.
Early treatment is important as leaving it can lead to other more serious complications and the spreading of the infection.
Normally, It’s Not a Biggie
Most of the time, despite my warnings, sand in your ear is no biggie and acts as nothing more than a nuisance.
That said, the sooner you get it out, the sooner you can live your life without that constant nagging feeling in your ear canal.
Also, the sooner your kid can go back to their play sand (and get MORE of it in their ears, yay!).
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can sand stay in your ear?
It’s unusual, but it can stay in your ear for a very long time. I’m talking about even a week. Though, this shouldn’t happen if someone has normal activity levels and moves around enough to dislodge the sand naturally from inside their ears.
How do you unclog your ears after the beach?
The best thing to do is to first tilt your head and open up your eye canal by pulling on your ear. You could then try warm (and clean) water, and if that doesn’t work, a saline solution, and if that’s still not doing the trick, then 2ml of a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
How do you get sand out of a toddler’s ear?
First, start by tilting them on their side to help encourage the sand to leave naturally. If not, then some clean warm water might do the trick. But be very gentle and don’t leave it in for too long.