Ear pain is something which should not be ignored. Today, more than 70 million people in the U.S. and almost double its size in parts of Africa and Asia suffer from various ear disorder and diseases which leads to complications at later stages and then, ultimately leaves people impaired with hearing capability. Some people think earaches are a minor nuisance, but it can cause deliberate pain.
Although it is a disorder that is widely known, yet there is still no cure available for it. Ear pain can feel unbearable. It can only be treated by professional doctors who practice in this field. It is most commonly associated with fluid buildup behind the eardrum which may be linked to an ear infection.
Infections are caused due to several factors – that which are internal-borne (inside the human body) and there are some forms, such as bacteria and other germs that thrive in our surroundings, which we usually do not see with our naked eyes. Thus, when we come in direct contact with particles that are so miniature to be seen with our eyes, these can also pose a significant threat to our body and overall well-being.
Let’s discuss how you can treat your earaches in natural and homely methods. This article focuses on providing some useful home remedies for earache in both children and adults.
There may be multiple reasons for the earache. Causes that are commonly seen are cavities, sinus infections, teeth grinding, earwax. The common that occur mostly is acute otitis media (AOM) or also known as a middle ear infection. Ear infection is the most common cause of ear pain.
The middle ear infection occurs due to blockage of fluid in behind the eardrum. Some of the main symptoms are
- Referred pain: This may be from infections or inflammation elsewhere in the body. For example, a toothache may cause aching pain in the ear.
- Chronic conditions: These include temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.
- Skin infections: If they are in or around the ear.
- Allergic reactions: These could be from a range of things, such as soap, shampoo, or earrings.
- Water: This may cause pain if trapped in the ear.
- Pressure: Changes in altitude can affect pressure in the ears. This usually resolves on its own, often with a popping sensation.
- Pain in the middle part of the ear.
- A certain amount of hearing loss
- Generally sick.
Effective earache remedies to treat ear infections at home
If you are dealing with minor ear pain, well, here are some useful home remedies which can help you with the effective treatment that is safe, too. Unless otherwise, it is always advised and recommended to seek a doctor in situations where the pain in the ear are unbearable in children and adults.
Treat an earache with cold and warm compresses
When having pain in either one or both the ears, the first attempt of self-help you can go for is applying a piece of cloth that is heated properly, warm compress, heating pad or a hot water bottle for a couple of minutes on the affected ear. This will quickly give you relief. This usually works for persons who experience pain occasionally and for a shorter duration.
For cold compresses, place the ice pack covering in a paper towel or light cloth over the ear. This method is safe for adults and children. Ice packs should not be directly placed on the children’s skin.
Alternating hot and cold packs (20 minutes hot, followed by 20 minutes cold) provides the best pain relief. Some prefer either hot or cold packs and some of them prefer both.
Get a warm shower
If you experience inflammation in the ear, or you have cold and fever, taking a warm and steam shower acts as a humidifier. Thus warm shower will soothe your mind, body, and ears too.
Well, in case of ear pain, you can also refer to some natural medicines which are probiotic in nature. These green and natural oils and medicines have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Consumption as well as using these herbs will not only relieve you from ear pain. But it will protect your ears from further infections and microbes. These medicinal herbs hold utmost importance in Ayurveda.
You can refer some of these medicinal and natural herbs and use it under the supervision to treat ear problems, mainly ear pain.
Olive oil drops for ear pain
Olive oil has a lot of healing properties and is often used in treating several types of problems. A few warmed drops of olive oil in the ear canal can help in soothing ear pain. It is safe and can also be moderately effective.
Well, there is no solid scientific evidence to prove that olive oil is the best remedy for ear pain. But according to AAP, it is safe and best remedy for ears. So you can use it. Before using, you should make sure that it should not be warmer than your body temperature.
Tea tree oil for ear pain
If you are having inflammation and/or infection in the ear, then you might want to try tea tree oil. It has powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. You can apply a few drops of tea tree oil in the ear canal to reduce pain and discomfort. Also, for persons who might be concerned with any kind of sensitivity, simply mix drops of tea tree oil with olive oil in equal amounts and apply it in the affected ear to get rid of the pain.
It has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe pain from earaches. Apply ginger juice or strained oil that was warmed with ginger in it, around the outer ear canal.
It has both antibiotic and pain-relieving properties. Soak crushed garlic for several minutes in warm olive or sesame oil. Strain the garlic out and apply the oil into the ear canal. Try eating a clove of garlic each day to resist your ear from infections.
Like ginger and garlic, onion also has antimicrobial properties. But they are not a substitute for medical attention.
Heat onion in the microwave for a minute or two. Then, strain the liquid and apply several drops to the ear. A person may want to lie down for 10 minutes and then allow the liquid to flow out of the ear. Repeat this as needed.
Juice of Basil leaves
Basil leaves is a natural cure for ear pain and ear infections. You have to crush the basil leaves and strain the juice before using it for treatment. Addition of coconut oil in the juice will make it more effective. You can use this regularly for the betterment of your ear.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It changes the pH level of the ear canal and makes the environment bacteria and virus resistant. You can warm some vinegar and apply it with the bud on the infected side of the ear. You can also use water with apple cider vinegar. Just put the bud and retain it for 5 minutes in the ear. And see the result. You will get relief instantly. It has antifungal and antibacterial characteristics.
Mineral oil for Swimmers ear pain
You just need to put the drops of oil into the ears before hitting the swimming pool. It is the best remedy for ear pain from Swimmers Condition. It will prevent the water from lodging into the crooks and crevices of the inner ear.
Along with using these medicinal plants, you have to take care of your sleeping positions. As wrong sleeping positions often cause ear pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can temporarily reduce the pain of an earache. People experiencing ear pain can try:
It is important to remember that it is not safe to give aspirin to babies and young children. This is because of the risk of a potentially life-threatening condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Let’s see how you can deal with your ear pain
Sleep in an upright or face down position, not sideways
Some people often find difficulty in sleeping when they are suffering due to ear pain. So, if you are among those who have this problem then, to overcome this easily is by changing your sleep position. Sleeping without putting pressure on the ear should not only give you a sound sleep but peace of mind as well.
Put yourself on your bed with a stack of pillows or you can also prefer arm-chair. This sleeping position will drain fluid from the ear. As a result, it will ease the pressure and pain in the middle ear.
Generally, you use drugs or medicines for pain relievers. But too much consumption can lead to other problems. Thats why you should take these under the supervision of audiologist.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxin and acetaminophen to control pain associated with a painful type of ear infection called acute otitis media (AOM).
You can easily avail painkillers from any pharmaceutical store in order to give yourself a quick relief from his pain, if you are experiencing it on a temporary basis and not on an everyday earache. Painkillers are safe to take against earaches and ear infection.
Concerned your doctor before taking the medicines. Different types of medicines(low dose) are available for Children and infants.
Naturopathic Drops for an earache
According to One dated 2001 Study, the drops containing herbal drops in a base of olive oil could be more beneficial and attractive than traditional over the counter ear pain relievers. Ear drops reduce the pressure in the ear caused by fluid or earwax. Hydrogen peroxide ear drop is the optimum drop to soothe your ear. Just dip the cotton with the solution and apply inside the ear.
These drops are made up of herbal extracts. You can buy them online or nearby stores.
Can cracking your back can relieve you from different pain, including ear pain. Well, the answer is yes. It is a suprising fact that making adjustment with your back, joints and bones can soothe your ear. Lets see and understand this phenomena.
Chiropractor makes adjustments with your bone and back and provides relief from an earache.
You can call it as ‘Spinal Manipulative Therapy’. It involves moving and jolting joints, massage, exercise, and physical therapy. It helps to relieve pressure on joints, reduce inflammation, and improve nerve function. In addition to ear pain, it also treats a headache, back and neck pain.
Along with cracking and spinal manipulation some beneficial and rotating exercises can also soothe your ear. Lets study how neck exercises can solve this problem.
Certain neck exercises can relieve the pressure in the ear canal. As a result ear pain is removed.
You have to do neck rotation exercises in the following ways :
- Sit straight up with both feet flat on the ground.
- Slowly rotate your neck and head to the right until your head is parallel with your shoulder.
- Rotate your head the other way, until your head is parallel with your left shoulder.
- Raise your shoulders high as if you’re trying to cover your ears with your shoulders.
- Make the movements slowly, hold them gently stretching more for a count of five, then relax.
- Repeat these often throughout waking hours.
Can you wonder salt also has this property to help your ear to fight with pain and infections? Heat some salt on low flame and dip cotton to coat it with warm salt. Just place this dip for 5 minutes in the ear. Salt drains the infection from the ear and provides relief from swelling and ear pain.
Suppose, you are battling with an earache, then distraction will work in the best way. Here distraction means you have to distract your mind from ear pain and get busy with another task. You can say it as psychological therapy. The activities that recreate you suits you and provides happiness to the optimum level should be preferred. Some the activities like :
- Watch your favorite movies or songs
- Involve yourself in other activities like painting, talking, roaming etc.
- Have a bubble bath will suit you and cool you.
- Reading your favorite topics
- Hangouts with your relatives and friends.
If you are traveling in an airplane, then ear pain due to flight is a natural pain caused due to change in the air pressure. The question is how to relieve your ear from such at high altitude? Here one chew gum can provide you relief. Take a chewing gum as it will lower the pressure and ease your ear pain.
Breast milk is very important for children as it has antimicrobial properties and raises the immunity power of the children. But you will surprise that it can also provide relief from ear pain and infections.
People can use a few drops of breast milk in each ear. And they can repeat after sometimes as needed. The ear will get relief from unbearable pain.
Massage is helpful if the ear pain radiates from the jaw or teeth, or causes a headache. You can gently massage the tender area and surrounding muscles. Slow and gentle massage can soothe your ear and provides relief from an earache.
Lavender oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It helps in relieving the pain. You just need to release 2 to 4 drops of oil in a cotton ball. Place that cotton ball in the outer ear.
Heat the castor oil a little bit and apply it on the outer ear. Drop 2 to 3 drops of oil and leave it for a moment. Now clean out your ear carefully.
This oil is used to cure the swimmer`s ear. While swimming the water can enter into your ears. The excess water cause pain and irritation in the ear. By pouring the drops of the mineral oil into your ear, it will relieve you from pain.
Mix the oregano oil with the olive oil. Apply 2 to 3 drops to the outer ear and massage with oil to the neck. Repeat the acitvity after few hours. Oregano oil has the property of an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is analgesic in nature. Note that do not pour oil into your ear.
Some Important Cautions That Should Be Taken
Earaches can be caused due to cold, inflammation (otitis), injury, allergy and most commonly, infection. There are, however, some precautions that can be taken in order to protect yourself from inviting unwanted problems, in this case, ear pain.
Some important steps or cautions that should be taken are:
- Never use sharp objects on and inside the ears.
- Do not let water or fluid get trapped inside the ears.
- Use of cotton swabs is not the right option for cleaning the ear wax buildup.
- Avoid ear-drops and/or oil on the perforated eardrum.
- Always keep the ears dry soon after bathing, swimming etc.
- Avoid passive or second-hand smoking.
- Avoid any kind of physical injury to the ears.
- Keep away from dust which may cause allergies.
- In case of extreme pain and high fever, consulting a doctor is recommended.
Though ear pain is not a disorder or disease. It is merely a symptom. But it should not be avoided as it can ultimately lead to various ear-related problems including hearing loss. This simple problem can be handled by the above home remedies. But you have to apply these remedies with utmost care and under the supervision. As an excess application of these remedies can pose a threat to the ear.
These simple home remedies can help you in the treatment of ear pain. Many ear infections are often healed on their own and do not require medicine.
However, if symptoms do not subside within days, then a healthcare visit is necessary. As these home remedies might provide you with temporary relief. Your ear pain can be due to different reasons.
First, consider the reason. Then think for the treatment under the supervision and guidance of hearing professionals.