Pain in the inner or outer ear that may interfere with ability to hear, often caused by excess fluid and infection.
Ear pain can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples include tight head wear, poorly fitting headphones, sleeping on a hard surface, ear piercings, grinding teeth or getting an object stuck in the ear.
If the cause of earache is an ear infection, there may be a watery or pus-like fluid coming out of the ear. Outer ear infections (infections of the tube connecting the outer ear and eardrum) and middle ear infections (infections of the parts of the ear behind the eardrum) are very common causes of earache.
1. Ear drops
Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies can be successful for some people, especially those that have tried natural methods. Many OTC medications shouldn’t be used by people whose eardrum has ruptured or who have had tubes surgically inserted in the past.
Some individuals may also need to check with their doctor to make sure their chosen remedy won’t interfere with any currently prescribed medications.
2. Hair dryer
After a bath, set the hair dryer to a low heat and hold it a distance from the ear. Continue for no more than 5 minutes. Take care not to burn your ear.
If an earache persists for more than 24-48 hours, it is important to get medical advice.
3. Chew gum
If an earache occurs during or after plane travel or moving to higher elevations, chewing gum may help “pop” the ears and reduce pressure.
Garlic is a natural remedy for earache that has been used for thousands of years. Allicin, a compound in garlic, is said to be helpful in fighting bacterial infections that may be causing an earache.
Eating raw garlic is said to help reduce ear pain. However, garlic may interfere with antibiotics, so it is important to speak with a doctor before taking it.
5. Heating pad
A heating pad or hot cloth held against the ear for 20 minutes may be helpful for temporary pain relief. While cold temperatures can help numb pain and reduce inflammation, a heating pad may relax the muscles and help improve blood flow.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is used in a range of ways. A couple of warmed drops in the ear per day may ease earache. However, before use in the ear, it is important to do a skin test to check for allergies.
Tea tree oil should be diluted in olive oil, sweet almond oil, or another carrier oil, usually 3 to 5 drops in 1 ounce of oil.
7. Olive oil
This method is old, but lacks any backing by scientific evidence. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that adding a couple of drops of warmed olive oil is safe and could be moderately effective.
Ginger is considered to have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Applying ginger juice (shredded ginger in warmed olive oil and strained), around the outer ear canal can relieve pain.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.
Do not put ginger directly into the ear.