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Earache: 10 Effective Home Remedies

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Anyone who has experienced menstrual pain or childbirth knows that earaches aren’t as bad as that. However, they are still high up on the pain scale. Not only does it feel like you have a nail stuck in your ear, you also feel helpless when it happens unexpectedly. It gets worse when you can’t access any prescribed antibiotics or get medical care immediately.


The pain usually subsides after one or two days even without taking medication. But if it doesn’t, and you just want to stop the pain immediately, then you need to know how to treat it from the comfort of your home.


earache home remedies


It’s common for children and young adults to get an ear infection that causes the earache, but adults also get it – albeit rarely. However, not all earaches are caused by ear infections (bacteria). They can also be a result of:

  • Allergic reactions, e.g from soap, shampoo, earnings
  • Referred pain, e.g a toothache
  • Skin infections in or around the ear
  • Chronic conditions, e.g temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Water trapped in the ear
  • Pressure


An earache can be very painful, especially when severe. You soon discover how difficult it is to eat, sleep, speak and go about your daily activity. When severe, it’s advisable to visit the doctor else the pain can spread to the jaw, cause hearing loss or a high fever.


In recent years, there are home remedies that help treat earaches that aren’t as severe. This is helpful if you’re home at night or in a location where you can’t get to a pharmacy for an off-the-counter pain reliever.




Here are ten effective home treatment and remedies you can try when you get an earache. Note that these home remedies are not a substitute for medical attention. You should see a doctor if pain persists.


1. Garlic

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and also has antimicrobial properties that help relieve pain.

How to use

  • Crush your garlic into bits.
  • Soak in warm olive or sesame oil.
  • Leave for several minutes.
  • Strain garlic out.
  • Apply the oil in the ear canal.


2. Tea tree oil

This has antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can apply it in the place of ear drops to help reduce the pain. If you’re worried about sensitivity, you can mix it with a small amount of olive oil.


3. Onions

Onions can help fight infection and reduce pain.

How to use

  • Heat onion in the microwave for a minute or two.
  • Strain the liquid.
  • Apply several drops to the ear.
  • Lie down with the ear side up for about 10 minutes, and then turn over to allow the liquid to flow out of the ear.
  • Repeat as needed.


4. Sucking

You can easily relieve an earache by sucking on something like a hard lollipop or a cough drop. It helps reduce pressure in the Eustachian tubes.


5. Ginger

Ginger has many natural benefits. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that instantly help soothe your pain.

How to apply

  • Crush the ginger.
  • Soak in warm olive or sesame oil.
  • Leave for several minutes.
  • Strain out ginger juice/oil.
  • Apply around the outer ear canal. (Don’t put directly into the ear.)


6. Heat compression

Heat is a good soothing mechanism. It’s functional in cases of earaches as well and works when applied on the neck and throat. However, the heating pad or hot pack used should not be unbearably hot. Apply for 20 minutes on the spots indicated, and ensure you don’t fall asleep in the process.


7. Cold compression

This is as soothing as the hot compression. For quicker results, do it alternatively. You should alternate between warm and cold for 10-20 minutes, an equal number of minutes each. A cold pack can help with the pain of an earache.

How to use

  • Freeze your cold pack or wrap ice in a paper towel.
  • Cover with a light cloth.
  • Hold it against your ear and the area under your ear.
  • Do this for 20 minutes. Repeat as needed.


8. Olive oil

While you should first discuss this with your doctor, it is safe to place a few drops of olive oil in your ear canal. You can heat it up a bit, but it should not be warmer than your body temperature to avoid burning your eardrum.


9. Neck exercise

To ease the earache you feel, you can massage the surrounding area or do a neck rotation. This helps ease the pressure in your ear canal.

How to do a neck rotation

  • Sit straight up and perform these movements.
  • Slowly rotate your neck and head to the right until your head is parallel to your shoulder.
  • Do a clockwise movement to the other side until your head is parallel to your left shoulder.
  • Then raise your shoulders high like you’re trying to cover your ears with your shoulders.
  • Hold each movement gently, stretching more for a count of five. Then relax.
  • Repeat often throughout waking hours.


10. Sleep upright

Resting or sleeping sitting up rather than lying down can encourage fluid in your ear to drain. Doing this would help ease the pressure and pain in your middle ear which is often the source of the pain. You can achieve this by propping yourself up in bed with pillows.

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