Earache remedies and treatment

How do you get rid of an earache fast?

Ear pain can be due to different causes, although the most common has its own name: otitis, an auditory infection that can originate in the middle or external ear. Let's look at all the possible remedies for it.

Earache remedies

Earache treatment always depends on the diagnosed cause. Often, it is not only a question of relieving pain, but also of treating the triggering disease, if it is present.

  • If the doctor determines that the source of the earache is inflammation of the pinna, it can be treated with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.
  • When it comes to ear pain due to middle ear inflammation, what is most often recommended is a carefully controlled combination of pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, including antibiotics in case of an infection.
  • And finally, if it is ear pain due to inflammation of the ear canal, the anti-inflammatory drops along with antibiotics will help to drastically reduce the symptoms.

Home remedies for earache

  • Sit down. A few minutes in an upright position decreases the swelling and begins to drain the liquid from the Eustachian tubes. Swallowing also decreases the pain. If you can, keep your head slightly raised when you sleep, to ensure better drainage.
  • Turn on the hairdryer. Turn on the hairdryer at a moderate temperature. Then, keeping the jet 50-60 centimeters from the ear, direct the warm air on the sore ear.
  • A patch with salt. Heat the salt, the one you use in the kitchen, and put it in a cloth, or even in a sock. Then pass the very hot fabric with the salt inside the ear and keep it applied for a few minutes.
  • Move your ear. This is a test to understand if you have external otitis or otitis media (middle ear infection). If you can move your ear without feeling pain, the problem is probably in the middle ear. If the movement of the pavilion hurts you, then the infection is in the external canal.
  • Heated oil. Put a bottle of baby oil or vaseline oil in water. Leave the bottle in the water until the oil has also heated up. Then with a dropper, take a drop or two of oil and put it in the sore ear: the pain will decrease. Warning: do not put liquids in the ear if you think the eardrum is broken or perforated.
  • Garlic and onion. To strengthen the soothing action of olive oil, strengthen it with garlic and onion. The first is obtained in liquid form after having thoroughly cleaned a head, for onions instead just chop them before putting them in the oil you use for earache. 
  • A chewing gum or a yawn. Everyone knows this is a good way to clear your ears on an airplane, but have you ever thought about it at midnight? The muscular action of chewing is what lies at the base of the make-up, because it opens the Eustachian tubes. Yawns move the muscle that opens the Eustachian tubes, even better than chewing gum or sucking on candy.
  • Hold your nose. If you're flying at 10,000 meters when your ears start to hurt, here's what you can do, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Pinch your nose between your fingers. Take a good breath of air and then, using the muscles of your cheeks and neck, push the air into your nose as if you want to send your fingers away. When the internal pressure of the ears has equalized the external pressure, you will hear a 'pop'.
  • Avoid diving. Like people who go by plane, divers must also be able to compensate the internal pressure of the ear with the external pressure of the water, otherwise they can have ear problems. Underwater activities in shallow waters are the most dangerous, because 'the maximum changes in the volume of air occur in relatively shallow waters (less than ten meters). Swimming on the surface stresses the eardrums less than swimming underwater, it is recommended not to dive more than one meter deep, to avoid pressure on the eardrums.

When should you see a doctor for an earache?

Many people are unsure whether they should see a doctor with an earache. It is recommended to always consult a specialist in case of persistent earache. Depending on the case, the doctor may be forced to intervene to remove liquids, such as pus, that clog the ear. In the following cases, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible:
  • If you have a fever in addition to the earache
  • Moderate to severe earache
  • With ear bleeding
  • In case of children, If the child is under two years old
  • If the general condition is bad

How to prevent earache in flight

Since earache has many different causes, targeted prevention is not possible. However, it is possible to reduce the risk by paying attention to some aspects. For example, if you have a cold when traveling by plane, decongestant nasal drops help to avoid pressure-related earache. If you do not have a cold, chewing gum or exerting counter pressure while keeping the nose blocked helps prevent earache during take-off or landing by balancing the pressure.


How to prevent earache in children

Children suffer from ear pain significantly more often than adults, mainly due to otitis media. Research shows that a smoke-free environment, breastfeeding  and vaccination against pneumococci protect against otitis media. It is useful to consult an ENT specialist from the onset of earache. In this way, unnecessary complications and pains are avoided.

The so-called swimmer's ear (otitis externa) can be prevented by alternately tilting the head to both sides after swimming in the pool. In this way the water can escape from the ear canals. The pool water trapped in ear causes inflammation due to humidity, and the chlorine present in the water dries the ear, promoting inflammation. However, it is necessary to avoid cleaning and drying with a cotton swab, as this can easily damage the ear canal or eardrum.

Earache symptoms

There are various types of earache. It can come on suddenly (acute) or progressively and become stronger over time (chronic). Earache can be perceived as a burning or discomfort sensation, unilateral or bilateral, after a trip by plane or after a bath. It can also be accompanied by painful swallowing, sore throat, fever, or cold.

Earache in adults and adolescents

People in adulthood suffer from earache less frequently and it is more likely to be a disease of the external ear canal. In adolescents, inflammation of the ear canal is the most common type of earache. The cause is usually an aggressive ear cleaning method. If you insert cotton buds or pointed objects too deeply, the ear suffers minor injuries that can cause infections.

Traveling by plane can cause earache, due to the temporary ear pressure changes. Serious problems can also arise during diving, if you have a cold or already have ear inflammation. In case of violent earache accompanied by hearing loss, dizziness or tinnitus, it could be a barotrauma. This must be treated promptly, to prevent the eardrum from tearing or breaking.

Earache in children and babies

Any parent knows that earache is much more common in children. This is due to several reasons, since children have much shorter and straighter Eustachian tubes, so inflammation or infection of the upper respiratory tract affects the ear more easily.

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