By Leah Lewis
Imagine the excruciating pain of a toothache, but instead of it being inside of your mouth, it is inside of your ear and even down the side of your neck. An earache can truly be debilitating, and although it more frequently occurs in children, it can happen to just about anyone, and here’s why.
Pain in the ear is usually the result of a bacterial infection taking place in another part of the body which also affects the ear. For instance, sore throat, tonsillitis, sinusitis, or even the common cold can lead to an earache. However, earaches are not always caused by an infection, but can be brought about by other means such as, the buildup of earwax which may become hard, water trapped in the ear, allergic reactions and more.
For this reason, an earache may not necessarily require antibiotics to bring about relief of its painful symptoms, and only your physician can truly determine the cause of the pain. But when that pain brings tears to your eyes and you’re waiting for medical care or for antibiotics to work (if your doctor recommends them), you can definitely rely on the following home remedies to give you some much needed relief.
Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent antiseptic that has been used as a natural remedy for earaches for ages. Not only does it help to kill harmful bacteria in the case of an ear infection, but it also helps greatly in the removal of hardened ear wax by softening the wax to allow for its natural elimination. To use this method, tilt the head sideways or lie down with the troubled ear facing upwards. Add 2-3 drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal (the 3 per cent solution is fine for this purpose). You will hear it fizzle for a little while, and it just may hurt depending on the severity of the infection, but leave it to sit for about 5 minutes. Then, tilt the head upwards or in the opposite direction with a piece of cotton placed on the outside, and let the liquid run out. Repeat this 2-3 times daily for relief. If the pain persists for more than 2 days, you may certainly need to see your doctor. Do not apply hydrogen peroxide inside of the ear if the eardrum is ruptured.
Canadian Healing Oil
Available at most pharmacies, this compound has been used throughout many generations for its multiple healing properties. Canadian Healing Oil is made up of turpentine oil, birch tar oil and camphor oil, the combination of which produces the seemingly miraculous benefit of pain relief when applied externally or taken internally, since it both reduces inflammation and kills bacteria. When used for earaches, it also helps to loosen/break up hardened earwax and allow for its natural removal. To use this method, place the bottle of oil into a cup of very warm water until it too becomes warm. Tilt the head sideways with the affected ear facing upwards and using a dropper, apply 2-3 drops of the warm oil (not hot) into the ear canal. Let this sit for about 5 minutes before bringing the head back to its upright position. Place a piece of cotton or lint loosely on the outside of the ear to allow for a neat run off, and repeat twice daily. Once again, you should not use this method if the eardrum is ruptured.
Hot or cold compress
For temporary, but immediate relief of ear pain, a hot or cold compress applied to the outside of the ear, behind the ear and to the neck can surely do the trick. It is up to you to choose which temperature works for you best, or you can opt to alternate between hot and cold. To do this, soak a clean towel in hot water, drain the excess water and apply to the skin of the affected area as hot as can be tolerated without of course, damaging the skin. Leave on for 5-minute intervals, and repeat as necessary. On the contrary, for a cold compress, an ice pack can be used, wrapped in a clean towel and applied to the affected area. Be careful not to fall asleep with either compress over your ear.
If your earache is accompanied by dizziness, oozing fluid, fever or hearing loss, you should definitely seek immediate medical attention. For less serious cases though, I can confidently share that the remedies above should give you the help that you need.
Best wishes on your journey
to better health.