Earache occurs due to an infection or swelling in any part of the ear. There are several types of earaches – ‘Otitis Media’, which is caused due to an infection in the middle part of the ear, and ‘Otitis Externa’, which occurs as a result of an infection in the outer ear. If ear pain is due to the swelling of the tympanic membrane (eardrum), it is called ‘Myringitis’. Though, earaches can affect both adults as well as children, but it is more common in kids.
Causes of different types of earaches are:
- Bacterial infection
- Common cold
- Infection in the upper respiratory tract
- Inflammation in the Eustachian tubes
- Feeding a baby with a bottle in a lying-down position
- Second hand smoke or passive smoking
- Abnormal structure of the head or ears
- Accumulation of moisture in the ear canal due to swimming or showers
- An injury in the outer ear canal or eardrum
- Infection in the outer ear canal
- Throat or nose infection
- Common cold
- Build up of fungus or excess earwax in the ear
- Arthritis in the jaw
- Ear disease
- Ear tube blockage
- An injury to the jawbone
- Injury to the eardrum
- Infection or inflammation of eardrum
- Ruptured eardrum
- Formation of blisters in the eardrum
- Eardrum puncture while cleaning
Other main causes of earache are:
- Decrease in pressure due to high altitudes
- Referred pain due to throat-ache, pain in the jaw or teeth
- If a foreign object gets stuck in the ear, like an insect or blocked earwax
The symptoms of Otitis Externa and Otitis Media are:
- Chronic pain due to pulling of ear’s outer rim
- Buzzing and singing sound in the ear
- Discharge from the ear canal
- Swelling and itchiness in the ear
- Bleeding from the ear canal
- Ear blockage
- Infants and children suffering from Otitis Media may suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, loss of sleep and appetite, irritability, fussiness, and increased crying.
Symptoms of Myringitis are:
- Severe earache that disappears suddenly
- Blood discharge from the ear canal
Home Remedies for Earache
Here are some of the best natural earache remedies that can be tried at home to get instant relief.
1. Place Heating Pad
Take a hot water bottle or damp a small washcloth in hot water and place it on the aching ear. The warmth gives a great relief from earache while improving the blood circulation.
Garlic is a strong analgesic as well as antibiotic, therefore, gives a fast relief from earache. Take 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic and heat it in 2 tbsp of sesame oil for a few minutes. Now, let it cool and then strain it. Now, pour 2-3 drops of this oil in the paining ear.
Ginger is an excellent painkiller as well as it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Put fresh ginger juice into the affected ear. You can also heat 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger root in ¼ cup of sesame oil and then, apply it externally around the aching ear.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is also one of the best natural remedies for earache. It helps in getting rid of infection in the ear while relieving the pain. Pour 3-4 drops of warm olive oil into the aching ear with the help of a dropper or a cotton ball.
5. Basil Leaves
Crush some basil leaves and extract its juice. Put at least 2 drops of it into the infected ear to get relief from earache.
Grate an onion and take out its juice. Put 2-3 drops of it into the affected ear at least 2-3 times in a day. Onion is a good antiseptic and cures earache easily.
7. Eucalyptus Oil
Pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a bowl of boiling water. Add a teaspoon of Vicks to it. Now, inhale the steam of this water. Repeat this process until the pain lowers down. This reduces the pressure while also facilitating the drainage of accumulated fluids from the infected ear.
8. Bishop’s Weed Oil
It is one of the most effective home remedies for earache relief. You just need to add 1 teaspoon of bishop’s weed oil in 3 teaspoons of sesame oil. Then, heat it a bit. Pour 4-5 drops of this oil into the aching ear.
9. White Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
Mix some white vinegar and rubbing alcohol and pour few drops of this mixture into the infected ear. It will heal the infection while reducing the pain in the ear.
Pour few drops of fresh peppermint juice into the aching ear. You can also apply peppermint oil externally around the infected ear. But, make sure, you don’t put it directly into your ear. Peppermint is a good earache remedies to try at home.
Heat some licorice herb in clarified butter. Apply this paste externally around the aching ear to get quick relief from chronic earache.
12. Tea Tree Oil
Pour few drops of tea tree oil into the aching ear. Tea tree oil works best for treating ear infections while eliminating the pain, caused due to it.
Radish also helps to relieve severe earache. Chop some radish and heat it in mustard oil. Allow it to cool, then strain. Now, put few drops of this oil into the aching ear.
14. Try Over-the-counter Drugs
Over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can relieve the pain to a large extent, though it will not eliminate the infection.
15. Hair Dryer
Moist heat is also an effective way to get rid of earaches. After a bath, dry your ears with a hair dryer. Don’t wipe your ears with a towel. Put the dryer at warm setting and hold it at a distance from the ear. Dry the moisture present in your ear with the dryer for not more than 5 minutes.
Take 4-5 tablespoons of salt and heat it in a pan until it becomes a bit brown in colour. Now, wrap it in a clean cloth. Press it over the infected ear for 2-5 minutes every day. Repeat it till the pain completely subsides.
17. Have Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Increase your intake of fruits that contain Vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, and guavas.
18. Sleep in an Upright Position
This will avoid the build-up of pressure in the ear canal.
19. Sesame Oil
Heat sesame oil with the castor plant leaves. Then, strain it and let it cool. Insert 2-3 drops in the aching ear with the help of a dropper.
20. Chewing Gum
If the cause of the earache is pressure or high altitude, it can be cured by chewing gum.
Echinacea is also very effective in curing bad earaches.
22. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix some apple cider vinegar with rubbing alcohol and put 2-3 drops of this solution into the infected ear. Let it remain for a few minutes. This remedy works well if repeated at least 2-3 times in a day.
23. Hydrogen Peroxide
This is one of the most common home remedies to treat ear pain, caused due to infections. Pour 2-3 drops of hydrogen peroxide into the infected ear. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, and then, drain it out.
24. Mango Leaves
Heat some mango leaves. Extract its juice and then, pour a few drops into the aching ear. Let it be for a night. It is really effective in treating ear aches.
Homeopathic Remedies for Earache
Homeopathic remedies are safer than over-the-counter tablets or eardrops to treat an earache. Therefore, you can try the following homeopathic remedies in order to get relief from ear pain.
This is suggested when the pain becomes really intolerable with one cheek turning red and hot and a feeling of fullness in the ear.
2. Aconitum napellus
This is usually taken when earache is accompanied by fever and dry cough. The ear becomes very sensitive to noise or music.
It is mostly given in the cases of fever, red face and a feeling of hotness on the skin, caused due to chronic ear pain.
4. Hepar sulphuris calcareum
This remedy is helpful at a later stage of earache, in cases of sharp pain, when the ear becomes really sensitive to touch and cold air with a thick discharge from ears or nose.
5. Mercurius solubilis
This remedy is used when earaches are accompanied by symptoms, like shooting pain, pus formation, swollen lymph nodes, bad breath, and sensitivity to extreme temperatures.
Apart from these, there are several other homeopathic remedies, like Kali bichromicum, Pulsatilla, Ferrum phosphoricum, and Silicea.
Note- It is recommended that only one dosage should be taken initially, and you should wait for its response. However, the frequency of the dose depends from person to person and the condition of the earache. Sometimes, only a single dose is enough in a day while at other times, it may be needed to take the dose several times a day. You should consult a doctor to know the severity of your earache and get information about proper dosage.
- To prevent ear infection, put mineral oil in both the ears before going for a swim.
- After bathing or swimming, dry your ears.
- Don’t insert foreign objects in the ears.
- Avoid active or passive smoking
- Avoid being in dust or pollen as these cause allergies.
- Avoid milk or cheese if you are allergic to it, as it may cause ear aches.