Earaches are failry common and can be both very painful and debilitating. However, they do not always require a course of antibiotics. The prescription guidelines for earaches and ear infections have changed in recent years and antibiotics are prescribed far less readily than they used to be. Not every ear infection is actually bacterial and antibiotics will have no effect in any case. In fact, there are plenty of safe and effective home remedies that can help you find some relief as you are about to find out.
Before we go on to look at the best home remedies for an earache, let us take a look at the possible causes and some preventive measures.
What Causes Earache or Pain
The cold season often brings plenty of sniffles along with it but for many people, they do not just have their colds and flu to contend with. These common sicknesses are often accompanied by ear infections and pain.
Thankfully, most of the time, an ear infection clears up pretty fast even without the need for treatment. Ear infections are very often treated with a course of antibiotics but research has demonstrate that they may not be necessary at all. Many ear infections are not actually caused by bacteria and one piece of research concluded that amoxicillin was not any more effective than the placebo used in the study.
Even so, ear infections an be very painful and treating it can be something of a priority. If you would like to try a safe and natural treatment, we have compiled a great list of some of the best-known remedies that you can carry out yourself at home.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection can often begin a few days after the beginning of a respiratory infection or cold. The symptoms can include the following:
- Ear pain which can vary in severity from moderate to severe.
- A thick, yellow and sometimes bloody discharge from the ear. This usually indicates that the eardrum has burst.
- Mood swings.
- Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
- Difficulty sleeping.
Symptoms of a Fluid Buildup
Ear pain can also be caused by fluid buildup in the ears. The symptoms include the following:
- A popping or ringing in the ear.
- A feeling that the ear is full.
- Hearing problems.
- Dizziness and problems with balance.
Preventing an Earache
Before we get onto the home remedies, let us take a look at some preventative measure that you can take before an earache even starts.
- Smokers and household that have smokers are more likely to suffer ear complaints than non-smoking households.
- Breast fed children are less at risk of developing ear infections.
- Certain dietary allergens may contribute to chronic earache so you may try tweaking your diet. Common allergens such as soy, gluten, eggs peanuts and dairy products may contribute to ear infections.
- Keeping your ears dry and clean can have a positive effect especially if you suffer from regular earaches or infections.
Home Remedies for Ear Pain
1) Apply Heat
My grandmother was a big fan of natural remedies and rather skeptical about modern medicine. When it came to minor illnesses like colds, sinus infections or earache, she usually had an answer. As a child, I remember her pressing warm towels to my ear to help soothe the pain. Like so many folk remedies, the treatment was really effective.
These days, it is easy enough to buy or make your own hot pack. One way is to put some rice, salt or popcorn into a sock and heat it in your microwave until it is just warm enough then apply the pouch to your ear. Another option is to use a hot water bottle but be sure that you do not have the water overly hot.
2) Garlic Oil
Garlic has excellent antibacterial properties and is used in countless home remedies. There are many different ways to use garlic to treat earache or infection either alone or combined with essential oil for an extra kick.
Here is one recipe that people have found extremely effective:
You need 4 or 5 cloves of fresh garlic chopped up finely, half a cup of virgin olive oil and around 20 drops of your chosen essential oil.
There are many antibacterial and anti-viral essential oils to choose from including tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender. Lavender is one of the most gentle essential oils and a good choice if you are using this remedy on your children.
- Put your olive oil in a pan and add the garlic.
- Bring the oil to a gentle boil then turn down the heat.
- Allow it to cook slowly for up to 8 hours.
- Strain the mixture and squeeze it well to get all the oil you can from your garlic cloves.
- Add your chosen essential oil and mix it up thoroughly.
- Store your oil in a dark bottle which you can use for up to 2 weeks.
To use the oil, use an eye dropper or syringe to suck up the oil from its container. Put 2 drops in the affected ear or ears. You can repeat this process every hour or so for a few days. Do not put oil into your ear if the eardrum has been perforated.
Even though it seems off to put onions in your ears, they are another great remedy for a range of illnesses including ear infections and pain. There are several ways to use onions to treat your ear condition.
- Chop up a small onion and heat it in the microwave for between one and two minutes. Let it cool down and squeeze out its juice. Put several drops of this juice into your affected ear and leave it for a few minutes before draining it out.
- Alternatively, you can bake your onion then cut it in half. Put half in a warm piece of cotton cloth and apply it to your affected ear for five to ten minutes at a time.
4) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Like many essential oils, tea tree has excellent antibacterial properties that can help relieve an earache. If you would prefer to use another essential oil, there are plenty of effective ones to choose from including lavender and eucalyptus.
- Mix 3 drops of your essential oil with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Lay down onto your side or tilt your ear upwards and use some sort of dropper to pop the mixture into the ear. Allow the oils to work for at least 5 minutes before draining it out completely.
- Repeat the process on the other ear if necessary.
- Repeat the treatment several times daily for a few days.
Basil is a healthy herb that you may use to help treat your earache and infections. It can both help ease any pain and get rid of the infection.
- Crush 5 or 6 fresh basil leaves to extract the juices.
- Apply the juice to the affected ear but avoid getting it into the canal.
- Alternatively, mix the basil oil with the same amount of olive or coconut oil. Soak a cotton ball into the mixture and wipe gently inside and around your affected ear.
- Repeat the process several times a day until you are feeling better.
6) Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another popular home remedy that can cure a variety of ills. It has antimicrobial actions that may help destroy any bacteria and fungi that caused the infection or pain.
- Mix your apple cider vinegar with an equal quantity of water.
- Take a piece of cotton wool or cotton ball and soak it in your acv solution.
- Pop the ball into your ear and leave it for 5 minutes or so.
- Drain any excess liquid from your ear.
- Repeat the process several times daily for a few days.
7) Olive Oil
Ear pain and infections can be caused by ear wax blocking the Eustachian tubes. This obstruction is easily cleared with the aid of olive oil.
- Warm up a little olive oil and place the oil in the affected ear to help soften up the wax.
- Use a cotton swab to gently remove the wax but take care not to prod too deep as it may damage your ear drum.
8) Mango Leaf
The juice extracted from mango leaves are an excellent remedy for your ear complaint.
- Crush up and grind 4 or 5 fresh leaves to extract as much juice as possible.
- Warm the juice and place in an eye dropper.
- Put 3 or 4 drops into your ear and you should feel fairly quick relief from pain.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for as long as necessary.
9) Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another popular remedy for earaches and ear infections that many people have found extremely effective.
- Take a piece of cotton wool or cotton ball and soak it in the hydrogen peroxide solution.
- Squeeze a couple of drops directly into your affected ear.
- This helps to soften any wax and debris that may be causing an obstruction and contributing to your pain.
- Leave for a few minutes then irrigate your ear with warm, clean water and drain the debris.
Castor oil can also help to speed up the healing process and relieve ear pain. While many people have found it to be effective in relieving infection, others have reported that it can cause a blockage in the ears.
- Warm up some castor oil and use a dropper to put a few drops into your affected ear.
- Apply a coton swab to your ear and allow the oil to work for 5 minutes or so.
- Repeat the remedy twice a day.
Peppermint is another execellent remedy for an ear infection. It has excellent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as mild pain killing properties.
- Add some juice from a handful of fresh peppermint leaves to an ear dropper and put two drops into the affected ear.
If you have a burst eardrum, you must be careful not to use this remedy as the pil os very strong and likely to make matters worse.
Many earaches are actually caused by a buildup of pressure in the canal. Neck exercises may help to relieve the pressure and alleviate the pain. Neck rotaion exercises can be especially helpful and are easy to do at home.
- Sit in an upright position making sure that your feet are flat against the ground
- Rotate your head and neck slowly to the left until your head is in line with your left shoulder.
- Repeat the rotation in the opposite direction.
- Lift your shoulders as high as you can as if you were trying to reah your ears with your shoulder blades.
- Make sure that these movements are done slowly and holf the final positions for five to ten seconds each time.
- Repeat these exercises as often as you can throughout the day.
We hope that one of these safe, natural remedies will work for you. If you have any other effective home remedies that we have missed, please let us know and we can add it to the list.