Although having an earache can be annoying, it's not usually a sign of any serious health issue.
Home remedies using natural ingredients may provide some relief. However, there is no scientific evidence for their usefulness compared with over-the-counter medications.
In this article, we will outline fifteen simple remedies to try.
If an earache lasts for longer than 24-48 hours, it is best to see a doctor. They can check if there is an underlying problem that is causing the pain.
15 remedies for earache
Even if an earache is part of a larger issue, it is possible to reduce pain with both natural and medical methods. Here are 15 remedies for reducing earache.
1. Ice pack
Holding an ice pack or cold, damp washcloth to the ear for 20 minutes may help numb ear pain and reduce any potential inflammation that is causing it.
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Pain relievers
Pain relievers like ibuprofen or other NSAIDS can help control pain caused by earache. These medications shouldn't be used to mask pain, however, especially if the earache is associated with an underlying condition.
6. Sleep in an upright position
Sleeping in an upright position is often advised to help reduce the build up of pressure in the ear.
7. 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.
One of the best methods for reducing the feeling of pain, particularly among children, is to distract the mind from the earache. Games, television, or exercise can help reduce attention on earache.
One earache remedy is chiropractic, an alternative health approach. Chiropractic seeks to reduce pain and other health conditions by working with the muscles and bones. It is believed that earache can be caused by the misalignment of the upper neck bones. A chiropractor may be helpful for bringing these bones back "in line," helping to reduce earache.
10. 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.
Tea tree has antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
11. 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.
12. Neck exercises
Sometimes, earache can be caused by tense muscles around the ear canal, exerting pressure on the area. If this is the case, some simple neck exercises might ease the discomfort.
For instance, slowly rotate the neck and head, and lift the shoulders up toward the ears; repeat throughout the day.
13. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has been used as a natural remedy for earache for a long while.
Insert 5-10 drops, then lie on your side for around 10 minutes with the painful ear facing up. Then, drain over the sink and rinse with cold water. Don't be alarmed by the bubbles, this can help move ear wax out of the canal.
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.
15. 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.