Simple Home Remedies For Ear Pain


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13 Causes of Earaches in Adults


Anybody who has ever got ear pain knows how annoying it is. The pain is oddly challenging to endure. You can experience this pain in either one or both ears. It might be a dull or sharp pain. You might feel this pain for a short period, or it can continue for longer. Most of the time, this pain goes away on its own. In children, ear infections are the most common cause of ear pain, while it is less common in adults. In adults, ear pain may be referred from another body site. i.e. the actual pain is somewhere else (tooth, throat, etc.), and pain occurs in the ear. Continue reading to know more about the home remedies for ear pain.

What Causes Ear Pain?

When the tube in the ear, called the Eustachian tube, gets filled with fluid and is blocked, it leads to pressure build-up behind the eardrum or ear infection. This might cause ear pain.

Earache in adults is rarely due to an ear infection. Commonly, earache is due to pain from some other part like teeth, jaw or throat that is felt in the ears. The conditions which cause ear pain are:

  • Sore throat
  • Sinus infection
  • Tooth infection
  • Short-term or long-term ear infection
  • Arthritis of the jaw
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome
  • Injury to the ear due to pressure changes like high altitudes etc.
  • The build-up of wax or some object getting stuck in the ear
  • Swimmer’s ear (infection of the outer ear and ear canal), also called otitis externa
  • Otitis media (infection of the middle ear)
  • Malignant otitis externa (infection and damage of the bones of the ear canal and skull)

In children or infants, the following can cause ear pain:

  • Ear infection
  • Soap or shampoo in the ear
  • Cotton-tipped swabs may cause ear canal irritation.

Symptoms of Ear Pain:

Ear pain is a symptom that can occur due to any of the reasons stated above. However, here are a few associated symptoms mentioned which might help you recognise ear pain:

  • Pain in your ear which may be sharp, dull or burning pain; for a short or long duration or due to pain in your teeth, jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) or throat
  • Fever
  • You may be irritable.

You can notice the following symptoms of ear pain in babies and children:

  • Tugging at ears.
  • Difficulty in hearing.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Difficulty in maintaining body balance.
  • Fluid drainage from ears
  • Children with earaches might be fussy.
  • Children may cry more due to earache.
  • After an ear infection, many children might experience a little hearing loss, which is temporary. However, in rare cases, repeated ear infections can lead to long-lasting hearing loss.

If you have a swimmer’s ear, you might experience:

  • Discharge from the ear- yellow-green or yellow pus-like discharge, which has a bad smell
  • Worsening of ear pain on pulling the outer ear
  • Your ear or ear canal might itch.
  • Loss of hearing

If you have malignant otitis externa, in addition to the above symptoms, you might also experience:

  • Weakness in muscles of the face
  • Foul-smelling, yellow or green discharge from the ear
  • Difficulty in swallowing

Suggested Home Remedies for Ear Pain:

Ear pain can be very uncomfortable and can cause a lot of distress. You might find yourself seeking a remedy to relieve this pain, as it can be challenging to endure. Here are a few home remedies for ear pain that have been tried and tested by many; you can try them out to bring relief.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a herb commonly used as a remedy for managing various conditions due to its inflammation alleviating property. It is also effective against different bacteria. A study shows garlic and its derivatives effectively eliminate ear infection-causing bacteria (P.aeruginosa and K.pneumoniae). To use it as a remedy for ear pain, you can eat one clove of crushed garlic daily or mix garlic in coconut oil and apply it around the ear. Please do not put the garlic inside your ears as it may harm your ears.

2. Ginger

Ginger as a home remedy is quite prevalent and is used for many conditions. Various extracts of ginger are potent and can help in alleviating inflammation and reducing pain. A little bit of ginger juice can be applied around the ear to relieve pain. It should not be applied inside the ear or be used as ear drops.

3. Tulsi

Tulsi is known as the ‘Elixir of life’ in Ayurveda as it is used for managing many conditions. It is also called Holy basil, an aromatic herb of medicinal importance. It has inflammation-reducing action along with other therapeutic actions. Therefore, for relieving earache, tulsi can be used as ear drops. For making ear drops from tulsi, you simply have to take a few tulsi leaves and crush them to obtain the juice; this juice can be used as ear drops. Kindly ensure that you consult your doctor before putting it in your ear.

4. Avartani

Avartani is known as the Indian screw tree in English and Marod phali in Hindi. This plant has healing properties and is used to manage various other ailments besides earache. The use of avartani for earache is mentioned in Ayurveda. As a remedy for earache, crushed pods are used. You should add avatarni to gingerly oil and boil it. The oil can be used as an ear drop for relieving pain. Ensure you consult your Ayurvedic physician before putting anything inside your ear.

5. Ajwain

Ajwain (in Hindi) is also known as Yavani (Ayurveda), oma (Kannada), Jain (Assamese) and Yamani (Bengali). It helps in dealing with ear pain. For the remedy, you need to take a few ajwain seeds, add a few cloves of garlic, and boil it in a little bit of sesame oil. The oil should be boiled until the ingredients become red. The oil should then be filtered and applied as drops in the ear. Kindly consult a physician before putting anything inside your ear.

6. Til (Sesame)

Til is also known as sesame or gingelly oil seeds in English. Ayurvedic use of this seed ranges wide for the management of various conditions. Til is used as a home remedy for the management of earache. It softens the ear wax, thus helping to keep the ear clean. A little bit of til oil should be warmed along with a few crushed garlic cloves. A few drops of lukewarm oil can be applied to the ear externally to relieve earache.9 You should consult your doctor before putting anything inside your ear.

7. Hot or Cold Compress

You can use a hot or cold pack for compression over your ear to relieve ear pain. There is no exact temperature to be maintained, so you can use a cold or hot temperature that you are comfortable with. Just ensure that you wrap the hot or cold object you’re using for compression in a towel so that it’s not too hot or too cold. Every 10 minutes, you can try alternating the hot and warm compress. Please be cautious while taking a hot compress, as it can burn your skin if the compress is too hot.

8. Altering Sleeping Position

Decreasing the pressure on the ear can reduce your ear pain. You can try resting your head on pillows (two or more) and keeping your head in a higher position than your body. You should also avoid sleeping on the side of the affected ear. For example, if your right ear has an infection, you should try sleeping on your left side. Altering your sleeping position can help relieve your ear pain by reducing the pressure in the ear.

When to Seek Medical Help?

It is advised that you seek medical help if:

  • Fever, pain and irritability do not go away in one or two days.
  • You had a severe earache, and it suddenly stopped. It could mean that the eardrum has ruptured.1
  • Your pain persists or gets worse.
  • You notice a discharge from your ears.
  • You are unsure about what to do and are worried.
  • Your child has the following symptoms along with ear pain:
  • Headache
  • Weakness in muscles of the face
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling around the ear
  • High fever
  • Is sick and doesn’t get better


Sharp or dull pain in one or both the ears can be due to fluid build-up in the ear tubes. This increased pressure might be the cause of earache. It can occur in children as well as in adults. The pain can be due to various reasons like swimmer’s ear, otitis media, pain in the tooth, arthritis of the jaw or temporomandibular joint syndrome. The pain usually goes away on its own. However, you can try a few home remedies like garlic, ginger, tulsi, and hot or cold compress to relieve the pain. If you feel like the pain doesn’t subside, gets worse, or if your severe pain suddenly disappears, you should visit a doctor and get yourself checked.

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