22 Earache Home Remedies

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You could be sneezing and sniffling from the common cold. Maybe you’ve spent too much time in the swimming pool. Perhaps you are flying across the globe for a business trip. There are plenty of circumstances that can contribute to a case of painful ears. Instead of trying to rub out the pain, you might want to consider using earache home remedies to gain relief.

ear ache home remedies

Causes and Symptoms

An earache can affect different parts of the ear. For example, otitis externa occurs when moisture becomes trapped in the ear canal or you have suffered a minor injury to the ear. Swimmer’s ear is associated with trapped water that can occur after swimming, bathing, or even in hot, humid weather conditions. The warm, moist environment in the ear can lead to an infection caused by the growth of bacteria. Your ear can ache because of a scrape to the ear canal skin – usually when you use objects (like Q-tips and paper clips) to clean out earwax. Symptoms of otitis externa include achiness, itchiness, ringing sounds, swollenness, thick drainage, and hearing loss.

Otitis media is linked to a viral or bacterial infection of the middle ear. Usually, this condition emerges after a cold or upper respiratory tract infection that causes inflammation of the eustachian tube [1]. Normal fluid drainage of the middle ear is affected. Otitis media is also associated with allergies, exposure to secondhand smoke, family history, and physical abnormalities. A localized infection or trauma to the ear can cause pain and inflammation of the ear drum called myringitis.

Earaches are typically accompanied by inflammation, pain, swelling and redness.

Home Remedies for Earaches

Whether you are battling the flu or have suffered an injury to the ear, the pain associated with an earache can make it difficult to concentrate, enjoy the day, or even hear. We all know that you want the achiness to go away quickly, which is why you may want to consider the following earache home remedies:

a) Garlic:

Use a sharp knife or fork to puncture a clove of garlic. Transfer the juice into your achy ear. The natural antibiotic properties of the garlic will help ease the pain.

b) Ginger and Sesame Oil:

A mixture of equal amounts of sesame oil and grated fresh ginger can help ease achy ears. Use an eye dropper to drip three drops of the remedy into your ear. Plug up the ear with a cotton ball and leave in for a couple of hours.

c) Apple Cider Vinegar:

After swimming, avoid the ache of swimmer’s ear or from an infection by mixing an equal amount of apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Use an eye dropper to place one drop of remedy in each ear after going for a swim. This action will help cleanse the ear canal.

d) Vitamin C:

To boost the immune system and fight the infection associated with an earache, take a vitamin C supplement or increase your intake of foods that contain the vitamin, such as citrus fruits.

e) Warmed Towel:

One of the best ways to relieve the pain of an earache is to apply the moist warmth around the ear using a towel rung out with hot water. Press the towel against the ear to enjoy a soothing sensation.

f) Hairdryer:

After taking a shower or bath, use a hairdryer on a warm setting to soothe achy ears.

g) Olive Oil:

A few drops of warmed olive oil placed in the ear can help relieve pain. Use an eye dropper to transfer the oil. A recommended dosage is two to three drops in each ear.

h) Onion [2]:

The oil found in onions contains antimicrobial properties that can help with a minor earache. Slice a fresh onion and place in the microwave. Cook on high for one minute, and then wrap the onion in cheesecloth (or other thin cloth-like material) so that you can place it against your skin without it burning. Hold the covered onion against your achy ear for 20 to 30 minutes.

i) Hydrogen Peroxide:

To clear excess earwax that has caused an achy ear, place a capful of hydrogen peroxide in each ear. Allow the peroxide to settle for one to two minutes before letting it drain out. If you get in the habit of placing one drop of alcohol in your ears after bathing, you can prevent a buildup of earwax in the future. Other people will rinse infected ears with a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and warm water.

j) Hot Water Bottle:

Wrap a towel around a hot water bottle to provide cushioning warmth to an achy ear.

k) Warm Plate:

Some people have placed an oven-safe plate in the microwave before wrapping it in a towel, and resting it on an achy ear. The warmth of the plate provides comforting relief to an earache.

l) Mineral Oil:

To gain relief from a sore ear, warm a small amount of mineral oil and then use an eye dropper to drip the oil into an affected ear. Gently pull the outside of the ear to make sure the oil slips down the ear.

m) A Scarf:

To protect achy ears from a windy day, wear a scarf when you go outdoors.

n) Cotton:

Place a piece of cotton into the opening of your ear to keep harsh winds from irritating an earache. Make sure you don’t push the cotton all the way down into your ear canal.

o) Chew or Suck:

When changes in pressure have caused an earache (especially when you are landing in an airplane), chew a piece of gum or suck on candy. The action of chewing or sucking sends air to the inner ears, and you should soon experience a ‘pop’.

p) Bran and Salt:

To soothe an earache, mix ½ cup of unprocessed bran with ½ cup of salt (coarse Kosher) and cover in a nice piece of folded-over cheesecloth. This will create a bundle that won’t let the ingredients fall out. Heat the contents in the oven until they are warm and not too hot for the skin – set the oven to low heat. Position the cheesecloth over your painful ear, and leave it on for an hour.

q) Castor Oil:

Put a small amount of castor oil on a cotton ball and sprinkle a bit of black pepper on the cotton before applying to an achy ear. Place the cotton directly on the ear and not in the ear canal.

r) Hold Your Nose:

First, close your mouth and relax your cheek muscles. While holding your nose, blow one nostril at a time to gain relief from an ear ache.

s) Alcohol:

If your ear is achy because a bug is trapped inside – use an eye dropper to gently fill your ear with alcohol. This will kill the insect, and allow you to flush it out using an ear syringe filled with water.

t) Zinc:

Taking a zinc supplement or increasing your intake of foods containing zinc can help reduce the symptoms of an achy ear associated with infection. Foods to consider include pecans, cashews, pork, oysters, shellfish, yogurt, and cuts of beef.

u) Breast Milk:

When an infant is affected by an ear infection, try placing two to three drops of breast milk into the ear every three to four hours.

v) Sip and Swallow:

The action of sipping and swallowing something can help open up the eustachian tubes.


[1] http://www.emedicinehealth.com/earache/page2_em.htm
[2] Who Knew? Almanac by Bruce Lubin & Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin; pg. 366.