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Re: Water on the ear

Posted by James Briggs on June 23, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Water on the ear posted by David FG on June 23, 2005

: : : I want to know the meaning of this phrase " they talked until I got water on the ear".i would also want to know its translation to spanish

: : Are you referring to Gimpel the Fool, by Isaac Bashevis Singer? After messing around with Google for a while I conclude, perhaps wrongly, that almost everyone using the phrase uses it as a synonym for "water in the ear," meaning water that doesn't drain out of the outer ear promptly after swimming. It drains out sooner or later, but until then can produce a rather uncomfortable sensation as well as auditory distortion. That seems to be how Singer uses it. In his sentence, it's not a real condition, it's a psychological reaction to so much talk. When otolaryngologists talk about "water on the ear" thay MAY be talking about scarring of the eardrum (tympanosclerosis) which mimics the appearance of water, as a result of an autoimmune disorder. (Dr. Briggs, we need you here.) But I'm going with "water in the ear" in your example. If you speak Spanish, and have ever been swimming, then you know as much as anyone how to translate the phrase into Spanish. SS

: Could this not be a joke? They talked so much that the pressure caused the (non-existent) condition 'water on the ear': the analogy being with water on the knee caused by strain placed on that joint.


I certainly used the term 'water in the/my ear' after some swimming sessions when I was a lad. Now, much older, I go swimming three times a week and don't seem to suffer from the problem!
As far as the medical side is concerned, I doubt very much if tympanosclerosis produces a water-like phenomenon. The word is technospeak for scarring of the ear drum. See