How to Soothe an Earache

image001If you have had an earache before, you will understand how uncomfortable and painful it can be and you should know how to soothe an earache. Causes of earaches include infections, blockages, wax buildups and altitude changes. Pain as a result of earaches can be mild to severe and a visit to your doctor is necessary if it persists. There are a lot of things to learn which will help soothe earache discomfort.

What May Cause Earaches?

1. Common Causes of Earache

The information below may give you an idea of the cause of your earache, but is by no means self-diagnostic. All the possible causes of earache are not covered here, but the most common causes are outlined.

Causes

Description

Glue ear

This is more common in children and occurs as a result of build-up of fluid deep inside the ear. Common effects include hearing loss and earache caused by the fluid pressure. Diagnosis is easily ascertained by your GP based on the symptoms observed and treatment may not be necessary as it usually clears up on its own.

Ear infection

Earache may be caused by an outer ear infection affecting the ear canal. This could lead to inflammation of the entire ear canal or a boil may be seen inside the ear. Pus-like fluid may come out of the ear and pus usually drains out of boils or can be drained out with a surgical needle by your GP. Ear infections usually heal without treatment, but antibiotics may be prescribed for a patient.

Injury to ears

The ear canal can be damaged easily due to its hyper-sensitivity. Damages can occur when cleaning the ear by scraping with a cotton bud or poking the cotton bud too far into the ear canal. This could lead to a perforated eardrum which takes between six to eight weeks to heal with the aid of eardrops. Normal injuries to the ear canal heal on their own without treatment.

Earwax

Earache may be due to an accumulation of earwax which forms a hard earplug inside the ear. Attempts should not be made to remove it manually (could damage eardrum) until it has been softened by eardrops prescribed by a pharmacist. Then an “ear irrigation” procedure can be done by your GP if necessary, which entails flushing the eardrum systematically with water.

Throat infection

Earache can occur as a result of throat infections such as tonsillitis or quinsy (an abscess located at the back of your throat). Tonsillitis might clear up on its own within a few days without treatment, but quinsy may need further treatment. If you have a sore throat or are finding it quite painful to swallow, then you may need to see your GP immediately.

2. Less Common Causes of Earache

Other less common conditions may cause earache. A visit to your GP or dentist is advisable if you suspect you have any of these.

Causes

Description

Jaw bone problem

Jaw bone problem caused by arthritis or teeth grinding may lead to a condition known as “temperomandibular joint pain.” It usually occurs where the jaw meets the skull and causes earache.

Dental abscess

Bacterial infection can result in collection of pus in your gum or tooth (dental abscess), resulting in intense pain or throbbing in a problem tooth, causing earache.

Impacted teeth

A back tooth (molar) or wisdom tooth that has not broken clear of your gum may cause earache. This can be visibly identified and further medical advice should be sought.

Facial nerve pain

Pressure on the main nerve inside the skull may lead to intense nerve pain known as trigeminal neuralgia, causing earache. The pain may last from seconds to a few minutes and is felt in the jaw, cheek or eye.

Eczema inside the ear

Seborrhoeic dermatitis, a form of eczema inside the ear canal may sometimes cause earache. It causes irritation and inflammation of the affected skin area resulting in red, scaly patches.

How to Soothe an Earache

Pain relief methods for earaches are very helpful as most people, especially children, will need them to soothe painful infections. Regular infections will occur in children and knowing how to soothe an earache will prove useful indeed.

1. Home Remedies

Items

Instructions

Hot water bottle

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Firmly wrap a hot water bottle inside a towel and press it against the affected ear for a few minutes.

Olive oil

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Dip cotton bud into olive oil and put it inside the ear or add 3-4 drops of the oil into the ear.

Garlic

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Heat one teaspoon of minced garlic in two tablespoons of sesame oil. Add 2-3 drops of the garlic oil inside ear after draining the oil.

Onion

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Wrap freshly crushed onion in a clean cloth and hold over the affected ear for 5-10 minutes several times daily.

Ginger

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Mix one-fourth of warm sesame oil with a tablespoon of fresh ginger root and add externally to affected ear after cooling. Alternatively, fresh ginger juice can be put into the aching ear.

Licorice

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Make a thick paste by warming some licorice in clarified butter and apply externally around the affected ear.

Peppermint

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Apply drops of fresh peppermint leave juice inside the ear. Apply peppermint oil externally around the ear.

Radish

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Warm up a mixture of freshly cut radishes placed inside mustard oil and add some of the oil inside ear after cooling.

Hair dryer

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Use a hairdryer with setting on warm to dry ears instead of towel.

Steam

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Keep your head still under a warm shower or use a humidifier. Pain can be relieved while opening and relaxing with moist air.

Here is a very effective remedy for earache in this video:

2. Medical Treatment

  • Antibiotics. Antibiotics may be administered to a child depending on how old the child is or how bad the infection, but ear infections usually get better without them.
  • Surgery. Doctors may consider procedures such as ear tube insertion, removing adenoids and more rarely tonsils for children with repeat cases of ear infections and fluid build-up behind eardrum.

When to Seek Medical Help

You should seek medical help if:

  • Symptoms such as dizziness, bad headache, intense ear pain, swelling around the ear, blood or pus draining from the ear occur.
  • A child has persistent fever with temperature of 104 degrees F and over or an infant with 101 degrees F and above.
  • Ear pain stops suddenly, which may be a sign of a ruptured eardrum.
  • An ear pain does not improve within a day or two or gets worse.