If you've ever been swimming you can probably relate to that uncomfortable feeling of having water stuck in your ears.
And if you've ever tried to get rid of that water, there's a good chance you have tried shaking your head to get it out.
However, a new study shows that doing so could actually cause brain damage.
Researchers from Cornell University and Virginia Tech found that for small children, the force created when they jerk their heads sharply in an attempt to get water out of their ear canal can have a dangerous effect on their brain.
The researchers created a simplified model of the ear canal using glass tubes. A tube is then dropped onto a spring to mimic the shaking of the head.
"Our research mainly focuses on the acceleration required to get the water out of the ear canal," Anuj Baskota, one of the authors, told Phys.org. "The critical acceleration that we obtained experimentally on glass tubes and 3-D printed ear canals was around the range of 10 times the force of gravity for infant ear sizes, which could cause damage to the brain."
Thankfully, the technique isn't as dangerous for adults, as the acceleration was lower due to the larger diameter of the ear canal.
For anyone hoping to avoid the shaking technique to get rid of water, the researchers suggested another method.
"Presumably, putting a few drops of a liquid with lower surface tension than water, like alcohol or vinegar, in the ear would reduce the surface tension force allowing the water to flow out."