Earaches can result from a wide range of conditions, some as simple as the common cold and others more serious, such as brain or eye problems. Most of the time, it’s no cause for worry. However, many people find the discomfort distracting and look for ways to alleviate it, even temporarily. There are several ways to go about this and many have been proven effective, although not all are guaranteed to work for everyone.
Antibiotics are perhaps the most common of earache remedies. Naturally, they work best when the pain is caused by an infection of the ear or some other organ, such as the sinuses. But the reason many people find it effective is that they are often coupled with analgesics, or pain relievers. Using antibiotics for earaches can therefore get in the way of diagnosis. When you’re not sure what’s causing the pain, or if you’re already taking antibiotics for something else, you may want to find another solution.
Some people prefer home remedies to combat earache. These remedies vary greatly, and some are more scientifically sound than others. The simplest and least invasive is a warm compress. This can be as simple as pressing a warm cloth over the ear and surrounding area for a few minutes. Sometimes this will eliminate the earache altogether, especially if the cause is physical (such as pressure or impact).
If the ear is inflamed, garlic and mullein flower oil can be used to bring down the swelling. Garlic is known to have natural antibiotics and little or no side effects, making it ideal for physical applications. Mullein flower oil is used almost exclusively for earaches and is known to reduce irritation. The two can be used in combination, or even mixed with some warm olive oil. If the pain is mostly external, onion paste–made with a mix of onion powder and water or olive oil–can be applied to the surrounding area.
Pressure-related earaches, including those that accompany migraine attacks, can be cured by inhaling some eucalyptus steam. Vicks, popular for de-clogging nostrils and relaxing, is made with eucalyptus. You can rub some around your ear and see if the pain subsides after a few minutes. A more long-term remedy is to add some eucalyptus oil to hot, almost-boiling water and inhaling the steam for a few minutes, at least three times a day.
Of course, if the earache persists or if other symptoms show up, homemade remedies can only do so much. If you think there’s more to the earache, avoid the more invasive methods described above (such as oil drops) and get a proper diagnosis right away.