You probably believe that earaches are the only infections that affect kids. Even though earaches are not common with grown children and adults, they still occur. Earaches often dissipate on their own and do not require medical attention. However, there are some steps you can take to relieve yourself of the earaches.
Many people believe that earaches are just nuisance infections, so they don’t take proper care to relieve themselves of the pain; such carelessness can lead to severe complications. While medical treatment and antibiotics can work, some home remedies for an ear infection are pretty compelling.
You will learn the following from this post:
Table of Contents
What is an Earache?
Earaches can be unbearable, causing difficulty sleeping, eating, or taking any action; you will feel nothing but the pain. Children, especially, find dealing with the pain difficult. You should speak with a doctor if you experience severe pain from ear infections or earache, especially if you are experiencing the pain for the first time. However, home remedies for earache can help relieve less severe earaches; these natural remedies can serve as a means to reduce pain.
When to See a Doctor
When your child suffers from an earache, you should try to help them find relief as soon as possible because the pains from earaches are usually excruciating. See a healthcare professional if:
- If a child below six months has a fever or is exhibiting symptoms of an ear infection.
- There is no change in symptoms within two to three days.
- Symptoms worsen.
- Symptoms become severe.
- Loss of hearing.
- Fever of 102.2 F or higher.
- There is fluid, pus, or discharge coming from the ear.
- There is a sudden cease in severe pain (this may mean that an eardrum has ruptured).
- There is swelling behind the ear.
- Strange symptoms begin to manifest (especially twitching of the face muscles, swelling around the ear, dizziness, or severe headache).
- You believe medical attention is the next option.
Consult a healthcare professional immediately if:
- Any child below three months old has a temperature of 38 C (100.4 F) or higher.
- There’s a rise in fever of over 40 C (104 F).
- Stiff neck.
- A child does not stop crying, acts or looks pretty sick, or acts sluggish despite all efforts.
- There are signs and indications of weakness in the face, such as a crooked smile.
- There is pus-filled or bloody fluid draining from an ear.
- Pain in the ear is severe.
- You believe immediate medical attention is essential.
Causes of Earache
Earache may result from pain from a nearby structure that radiates to the ears. The following may be the causes of the earache you or your kid suffers:
- TMJ pain: The temporomandibular joint is a part of the face where the jaw attaches to the skull, and it is located adjacent to the external ear canal. Ear pain may arise when the TMJ is inflamed, and the TMJ inflammation may result from arthritis or trauma. In addition, teeth grinding might be responsible for ear pain and irritation.
- Sinusitis: This may be associated with elevated pressure within the middle ear, which results in pain.
- Dental problems and toothaches may send pain to the ear area.
- Pharyngitis (throat inflammation) and tonsillitis may result in pain that travels to the ear. In addition, a peritonsillar abscess may often cause ear pain, difficulty opening the mouth, and difficulty swallowing.
- Carotid artery pain (carotidynia) and thyroid inflammation may also be related to ear pain.
- Trigeminal neuralgia (a severe inflammation of the fifth cranial nerve) can likely also result in significant facial and ear pain.
- Barotrauma is an injury to the ear due to a change in pressure within the middle and inner ear. Barotrauma may include changing the pressure from trauma due to a blast injury, snorkeling or scuba diving, or changing the pressure from flying in an airplane. Damage resulting from barotraumas may occur to any or all of the eardrum, middle and inner ear.
Symptoms Associated with Earache and Ear Pain
Besides the fact that pain symptoms of ear pain depend largely on the underlying cause, there are some other general symptoms that come with an earache.
Outer ear (helix, auricle) inflammation include the following:
- Auricle trauma results in a well-defined clot or hematoma in the outer ear.
Swimmer’s ear or otitis externa symptoms include:
- Ear ringing or tinnitus
- Decreased hearing
- Pain, fullness, or pressure
The middle ear (otitis media) symptoms include the following:
- Decreased hearing, tinnitus (these may be indications of an acoustic neuroma or Meniere’s disease)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of balance
- Vertigo (a sense of the surroundings or the room spinning)
- Inner ear inflammation (labyrinthitis, vertigo)
- Ear drainage if there is perforation in the eardrum
- Deep pain
Symptoms of Myringitis include the following:
- Drainage that may be bloody
- Decreased hearing
The following explains other symptoms associated with an earache:
- When ear pain arises due to illness or injury from an element adjacent to the ear, the specific symptoms will be related to that element. For instance, TMJ inflammation may result in earache, but it is most often associated with pain when chewing or opening the mouth. Dental problems may also result in earache, but such issues are mostly gum or tooth pain.
Home Remedies For An Ear Infection
Even if an earache is a symptom of a severe medical condition, it is still possible to find relief from the pain with both medical and natural methods. For example, suppose your earache is not yet severe, or you are waiting for medical treatment to take effect. In that case, you can try the following natural remedies for earache and give yourself the peacefulness and painlessness that you deserve.
1. Ear Drops
Ear drops can reduce ear pressure caused by earwax and fluid. However, you should carefully read the directions or talk to your healthcare professional before administering ear drops to a child. Do not take ear drops as a substitute for antibiotics or prescription ear drops; therefore, you should use them for only a few days. If symptoms return after using the ear drops, you should talk to a doctor – there might be an underlying condition that brings about the earache. Also, you mustn’t use ears drops for a child whose eardrum has ruptured or the one with tubes in their ears.
Gentle massage can help bring relief from ear pain that travels from the jaw or teeth or one that results in a tension headache. You can massage the tender area, including any surrounding muscles. For instance, if the area behind the ear causes pain, try massaging the neck and jaw muscles. Massage may also help relieve one from the pain associated with an ear infection.
- Using downward motion, put pressure starting just behind the ears and down to the neck.
- Continuing to put pressure downward, work forward to the front of the ears.
This particular massaging type may help drain excess fluid from the ears and prevent the pain from worsening.
Garlic has been an ancient remedy for relieving pains. Some research has suggested that garlic contains antimicrobial properties that can wade off infection. However, you should not use garlic to substitute recommended medications or antibiotics. Instead, you can try adding it to an antibiotic regimen to increase the relief process. To prevent or fight against ear infections, consume about a clove of garlic each day.
Garlic ear drops may also decrease pain and keep an infection from worsening. Cook 2 or 3 cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons of sesame or mustard seed oil until brown, then strain the mixture. Pour a drop or two of the mixture into each ear.
4. Breast Milk
Breast milk contains antimicrobial properties. In addition, research has discovered that a mother’s breast milk changes are determined by the microbes the baby is exposed to. This means that breast milk works miracles in babies. Further studies even suggested that breast milk might even be suitable for adults. However, children and infants should continue nursing to gain the highest benefits from breast milk.
In adults, children, and nursing babies, topical application of breast milk may also work magic. However, even if that method does not work or help, breast milk cannot trigger any severe side effects. Instead, you can try applying a few drops of breast milk in each ear and repeat the process every few hours as needed.
Just like garlic, onions can help reduce pain and fight infection. But onions should not be taken as a substitute for medical attention. Heat onion in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Strain the liquid and apply some drops to the ear. You may want to lie down for about ten minutes, so allow the liquid to flow through and out of the ear. Repeat this method as often as you can.
6. Pain Relievers
Such pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce the pain from an earache. These medications should not be applied as a tool for masking pain to avoid getting highly dependent on them. The pain relievers are not ideal for long-term use, especially if an underlying condition is associated with the earache. Endeavor to use pain relievers moderately because excessive use may cause you both your physical and mental alertness.
7. Sleep Position
Your sleeping posture can also trigger ear pain. Sleep comfortably with your head resting on two or more comfortable pillows (soft pillows are great). Ensure that the ear affected is higher than the rest of the body. If you have an infection in your left ear, sleep on your right side. Reduced pressure automatically means reduced ear pain. Your sleeping position could go a long way in how you can find relief from earache. A few inches may not make an incredible difference in pressure measurement but go for it if it makes you feel better and more comfortable.
Salt contains antimicrobial properties; that is why salt is an incredible natural remedy for earaches. To use, pour warm salt into a sock or other cloth that can hold it well, then press it down toward your jaw and ear. Alternatively, you can dip a cotton swap in the warm salt and apply it to the particular ear aching you for about ten minutes. This process will assist in drawing out the liquid and helping to decrease the swelling in your ears. There you have it; salt is not only good for cooking alone.
While using a blow-dryer is not a very common remedy for earache, it is effective and can actually make a significant difference. Blow-drying the hair can help dry up any moisture that might be affecting the eardrum and causing pain. For example, you can do this after using the shower or bath. Blow-drying can also help with the problem of ear discharge that you might have been experiencing due to an ear infection.
Carefully aim your blow-dryer on a reduced heat near the affected area of the ear. Be very gentle whenever you are doing this.
A compress may help in soothing and drawing infection out of the ear. From damp washcloths to heating pads, warm compresses to ice packs, there are many options you can take to relieve pain associated with an earache.
Either hot or cold compresses can be an effective remedy for earache. Try either in order for you to decide the one you consider best for you. Some people with the condition even alternate between the two types every ten minutes to benefit from both.
Even though earaches can be both troubling and painful, you can easily treat them with some of the mentioned home remedies. However, if the remedies provided do not work for your child, then ensure that you arrange a visit with a hearing professional.