By Dr. Mallika Marshall


BOSTON (CBS) – It happens to all of us. Water gets trapped in our ears after swimming or showering, but researchers at Cornell University and Virginia Tech are now warning that you shouldn’t forcefully shake your head to try to get the water out.

The concern is that it could cause brain damage, especially in kids.

Scientists took glass tubes of varying diameters to replicate ear canals. They dropped the tubes onto a spring to mimic the shaking strategy.

They found that the amount of acceleration needed to eject the water was high enough to potentially cause serious damage to the brain. And since a much greater acceleration is needed for smaller sized tubes, children could be at greater risk.

Other options?

You can try lying on your side, jiggling your earlobe, or adding a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol or vinegar to the affected ear canal.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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