Searching for the best earache remedies doesn't have to be difficult. At one time or another we've all felt the pain of an earache. As a nurse, I've dealt with many patients suffering from earaches. From kids with rocks and beads lodged in the their ears to adults with acute sinus infections. Yes, earaches can be be a real pain.
Common Earache Causes
In order to treat an earache, you have to know what is the underlying cause of ear pain. It helps to ask yourself a few questions about your ear pain...
- Is there an object stuck the ear?
- Is there an infection brewing deep in the ear?
- Is there a structural problem inside the ear creating pain?
- Are there any untreated dental problems?
Any of these issues can cause earaches. Other causes include overusing jaw muscles, experiencing rapid changes in air pressure or temperature from cold to hot and vice versa, excess build up of earwax, and even pregnancy hormone changes. More serious medical conditions associated with ear pain are temporomandibular joint disorders, meningitis, and tumors. Relax! Most causes are earaches are not life threatening.
Earache Alternative Therapies
Earaches can make anyone miserable. The typical earache sufferer goes to the doctor and only gets conventional medical treatment. Oral antibiotics are the first line of treatment for most bacterial infections of the ear. But, they can have side effects like diarrhea as they kill off good intestinal bacteria.
What if I told you that there are other natural earache remedies that work with little to no side effects. Some of these remedies may sound exotic, but you can find most of these products at your local health food store. No, the best earache remedies don't have to be expensive. Here a just a few that I've found to be effective.
Endulge Your Sweet Tooth with Xylitol!
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol. It's used it as a low calorie sweetener to replace table sugar. If you use natural fluoride free toothpaste, you may have heard of xylitol. Many natural dental products use to xylitol to prevent dental caries.
This fascinating substance has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Studies found that chewing xylitol gum significantly reduces middle ear infections in young kids. That makes the powdery sweetener perfect for easing nasty earaches caused by pesky microbes. I've used xylitol to heal viral colds symptoms and it works like a charm.
You can purchase xylitol sprays over the counter. Or you can make a spray with a mix of distilled water and xylitol powder. Just be sure to keep your dogs far away from xylitol as it's known to be toxic to canines.
Treat It with Tree Tree!
This Australian plant has been used for thousands of years to treat all sorts of topical infections. Tea tree also known as Melaleuca alternifolia has been used to treat acne and athlete's foot. It's also used to kill viruses and fungi, and treat antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. I've used tea tree to disinfect minor cuts and scrapes.
This pungent, astringent herb produces a clear light oil. Tree tree oil must be mixed with carrier oil or water as it is so strong and can irritate the skin. As an earache treatment, simply mix a few drops of the oil to ½ cup of water and irrigate the ear canal with a bulb syringe to flush out any microbial toxins causing the earache. Tea tree is not expensive. You can get a high quality bottle of the essential oil at any holistic shop.
Colloidal Silver Cures
What exactly is colloidal silver? It's silver particles in a liquid suspension. Silver has been used for centuries to help accelerate wound healing. In modern times, silver compounds have been used on patients to keep burns from becoming infected.
Colloidal silver is a controversial supplement. Some say it works to treat bacterial and viral conditions such as skin conditions and sore throats. Other says it's ineffective against microbes and is based on junk quack science.
Yet, I've used it successfully as a nasal spray to shorten the length of my cold and flu symptoms. Colloidal silver can also be used to as one of the many earache remedies on the market. However, it is not to be used long term.
It's best to use colloidal silver when earache symptoms first occur and up to 7 days maximum. In spray or dropper form, use up to 10 drops in the affect ear. Allow the liquid to let it sit in the ear for a minute or so. Then, flush the ear canal with water.
Chew Gum & Eat Candy!
Okay, I'm giving you permission to chew gum and eat candy! Yes, excessive gum chewing can cause earaches by overusing the jaw muscles. But, chewing gum can also solve your ear problems. If your ear problems stem from a change in air pressure such a climbing tall mountains or riding in airplanes, the act of chewing helps to open and normalize air pressure in the tube (auditory or eustachian tube) that connects the middle ear to the pharynx.
With airplanes, the cabin pressure changes put pressure on hearing organs in middle ear causing sharp pain. Chewing gum, swallowing water, or sucking on candy allows the air to move freely in the auditory tube lessening pain.
Retire Your Old Pillow
Yes, I know it sounds strange but, your pillow can become a source of earaches. Poorly constructed pillows can put pressure on the outer ear lobe called the pinna or auricle. During the night, tossing and turning in sleep causes the pinna to fold and can lead to pain and inflammation of the cartilage in the auricle. If you suffer from nighttime ear pain, you might want to try an ear pain prevention pillow. This special pillow is doughnut shaped and helps to relieve pressure on pinna.
Get to Know Neem
This ancient Indian herb is a staple in many Indian households. Neem is used to treat countless skin disorders. Used topically, it is a potent antifungal and overall is antimicrobial. Neem oil is pressed from seeds and fruits of the plant. Look for a cold pressed form neem also known as Azadirachta indica. Children and pregnant women should exercise caution when using the herb, particularly if they are taking it internally. Use a couple of drops of the oil once daily into the affect ear until healed.
The Potato & Onion Solution
No, they're not just for St Patrick's Day. Potatoes and onions have a long history of being used to treat earaches. Using warm mashed potatoes is an old folk remedy for earaches. Simply, heat a potato in a microwave or conventional oven until it's soft and hot. Put the warm mashed potato in a clean sock or washcloth and place it against the ear canal.
The warmth from the potatoes helps to soothe the sore ear. Don't push the potatoes in the ear canal. That will cause more harm to the ear. Onion juice has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. Heat an onion until it forms juice. Let the onion cool and place its juice in an ear bulb or syringe and flush the ear with the juice. Then, rinse the ear canal with water.
Osteopathy Works for Earaches!
Are you tired of traditional medical earache remedies? Why not try osteopathy? Osteopathy is a type of alternative, noninvasive medicine focused on holistic physical manipulation of the bones, ligaments, and musculoskeletal system. This balanced approach leads to overall wellness.
A specific field of osteopathy called cranial osteopathy focuses on realigning facial muscles, tendons, and ligaments to reduce tension in those areas. Osteopathy works wonders for treating and preventing earaches and ear infections. This form of medicine also works well for both adult and pediatric ear conditions.
Alexander Gibb from UK on March 22, 2014:
Thank you for this information. I have a few problems with hearing and earache, i will try some of your suggestions.
mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on March 22, 2014:
I've not heard of most of these but have tried the colloidal silver remedy before with success. Thanks for sharing this information.