Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Last Updated: Nov 24, 2023

12 Effective Earache Remedies

Profile Image
Dr Vidya HENT Specialist • 13 Years Exp.MBBS, MS-Oto Rhino Laryngology, MBBS, MS-Oto Rhino Laryngology
Topic Image

What is Earache?

Earache is a pain or discomfort in the ear, which can be caused by infection, injury, or wax buildup. Earaches can range from mild to severe, and their severity often depends on the person’s general health and other factors such as colds, allergies and sinusitis.

Causes of Earache

Earaches can be brought on by a number of different medical issues. The following are common causes of earaches:

  • Otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear),
  • Otitis externa (swimmer's ear), 
  • Ear wax blockage, 
  • TMJ disorders (jaw joint problems), and
  • Sinus infection. 
  • Other less common causes include tooth decay or abscess, jaw misalignment or injury, cold or flu, and allergies.

What are the signs and symptoms of Earache?

The following is a list of frequent signs and symptoms of earaches:

  • A sensation of heaviness or pressure that originates in the ear.
  • varying degrees of ear pain, ranging from mild to severe.
  • Having a sensation in the ear similar to tickling or itching.
  • An increase in discomfort was seen when the area around the outside of the ear was touched.
  • inflammation and redness that extends around the perimeter of the ear.
  • Hearing loss, in addition to a muffled or blocked-out quality to the sounds.
  • Vertigo, headaches, and a temperature are some of the symptoms that have been reported (more rare, but possible).

What are possible complications of Earache?

Following are the possible complications of earache:

  • Hearing impairment
  • A hole being punched through the tympanic membrane (eardrum).
  • Infection of the space between the ears (otitis media).
  • Temporal bone fracture.
  • Mastoiditis (infection of the mastoid bone): 
  • Facial nerve paralysis.
  • Meningitis
  • Labyrinthitis (inner ear inflammation).

12 Effective Earache Remedies

  • Warm Compresses: Apply a warm, wet compress such as a washcloth or towel to the affected ear for 10 minutes at a time, several times a day. The heat from the compress will help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Ear Drops: OTC drops containing ingredients such as benzocaine, lidocaine, or permethrin can be used to temporarily relieve mild to moderate pain caused by an earache. 
  • Over-the-Counter Medication: Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help reduce inflammation in the ear canal and provide temporary symptom relief from an earache.
  • Essential Oils: Essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil and oregano oil have natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help soothe mild to moderate earaches when used in moderation via massage of the affected area with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba.
  • Garlic Oil Drops: Applying garlic oil drops directly into your affected ear canal for five minutes several times a day is said to naturally ease uncomfortable symptoms associated with an earache due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Another natural remedy for alleviating mild symptoms of an ear ache is apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water which acts similarly as garlic juice with its anti-inflammatory effects while simultaneously providing soothing relief due to its acidity helping balance pH levels in the area.
  • Acupressure Point Therapy: Applying pressure on specific points around your temples known as acupressure points can alleviate some of the uncomfortable sensations associated with an ear ache by numbing them out through stimulation of sensory nerves within that spot. Make sure you use gentle yet firm pressure when applying this therapy around sensitive areas of your head including near where your ears connect since too much pressure could worsen symptoms instead of relieving them.
  • Steam Inhalation: Steaming up the room using hot water or even herbs like chamomile has soothing effects on an ear ache due its relaxing properties which aids in draining accumulated mucus buildup inside your ears responsible for triggering some episodes of discomfort and pain.
  • Naturopathic Treatments: Though not always common treatments among conventional medication, certain homeopathic agents have been found effective at soothing symptoms accompanying certain levels of discomfort from an ear ache such as belladonna, arsenicum album homeopathy, Pulsatilla Nigricans plant extract, Apis Mellifica bee venom extract among others depending on severity level of each individual case.
  • Humidifier: Congestion in the inner ear is often alleviated with moisture so using a humidifier can make a difference in easing an earache caused by itchy or blocked Eustachian tubes in your ears due to allergies and sinuses infections.
  • Try a herbal remedy: An herb like chamomile is often used to help with earaches, as it has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help fight bacterial and fungal infections that can cause earache. Herbal supplements may be taken orally or applied topically as drops or gels depending on their form of preparation.
  • Chew gum: Chewing gum is proven to reduce air pressure in the inner ear which leads to less severe pain levels for those suffering from earache caused by barotrauma - sudden atmospheric pressure changes that cause pain in the inner ear canal (known as barotitis). Studies suggest chewing sugar-free gum several times a day when possible to help reduce discomfort until normal air pressure is restored.  

You may choose surgical procedures if the aforementioned treatments prove ineffective.

 What are the surgical treatments for Earache?

  • Myringotomy: This is a surgical procedure used to relieve pressure from the middle ear and treat persistent ear infections. A tiny incision is made in the patient's eardrum in order to provide a passageway for fluid to drain from the middle ear.
  • Tympanoplasty: This is a reconstructive surgery used to repair a damaged eardrum or middle ear bones. It involves placing an artificial eardrum or replacing the middle ear bones with prosthetic replacements, which helps restore hearing and reduce pain.
  • Mastoidectomy: During this procedure, infected tissue from the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear, is removed from the patient. The method is helpful in the treatment of persistent ear infections and reduces discomfort caused by either infection or trauma.
  • Stapedectomy: This is a surgical procedure used to correct hearing loss due to otosclerosis, a condition where there is abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear that affects hearing. The surgery involves removing the abnormal bone and replacing it with prosthetic material which helps restore hearing and reduce pain caused by otosclerosis.

Best doctors to consult for Earache?

The best doctor to consult for earache is an otolaryngologist, also known as an ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist.

ENT specialist: An ENT specialist is a doctor with advanced training in the care of the head and neck region and can help diagnose and provide medical and/or surgical treatment for conditions related to the ear such as infections, hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously

Book appointment with top doctors for Ear Pain treatment

View fees, clinc timings and reviews

Treatment Enquiry

Get treatment cost, find best hospital/clinics and know other details