Ear pain is a very common symptom that goes together with a handful of different health conditions, most commonly an ear infection – although many other types of airway infections and conditions like the flu might also have ear pain as an accompanying symptom.
Sometimes it can also be caused by direct trauma to the ear, because of changes in air pressure affecting the ear or by spending time underwater.The routine build-up of wax in the ears can also trigger ear pain.
It’s one of the most uncomfortable symptoms to have. But it can also be one of the easiest ones to cure and you might not even have to see your doctor do it: There are plenty of home cures that can help you to relieve ear pain fast.
Here are 14 simple home cures for ear pain relief.
1. The Saline solution in the ear
Saline solution sounds like something a lot fancier and more medical than what it really is: Actually, it’s just regular saltwater solution made with high-quality salt and pure water – and it can be one of the best things you do to relieve ear pain at home if what’s causing it is the build-up of ear wax inside the ear.
Just a few drops of saline solution should do it: Let it run into the ear, and then turn the head so that the saline solution is able to run out of the ear again from there. An earbud can be used, but never force one directly (or too deep) into the ear.
This should be enough to get rid of the majority of ear wax build-up – and if it doesn’t you might have to see your doctor for a more thorough removal without the chance of hurting your ears on the inside.
2. Cleaning the ears properly
If you have any form of pain in the ear due to the excess build-up of wax in the ear canal, then a thorough cleaning of the ears might be what you need to take care of the problem. The same is true if you have pain in the ears due to an infection – and cleaning the ears properly could get rid of any discharge in the ear due to an infection.
Pain in the ear that’s caused by water getting into the ears (a common problem for many swimmers, and sometimes just a consequence of washing your hair) can also be fixed with the gentle use of an earbud in and around the ear to get rid of the water and relieve the associated ear pain.
Thus, start off by cleaning the ears if you have ear pain – and then move on to some of the other methods mentioned on this list to take care of the condition that might be causing the pain in the first place.
3. Using an ear aspirator
If you can make a trip to a pharmacy or order something from the internet without seeing a doctor, then one of the things that can help you to relieve pain in the ear is an ear aspirator. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a small device that fits into the ear and helps to “suck out” any built-up wax or fluid in the ear – and it can help you if you’ve tried some of the methods on this list and they didn’t work for the long-term.
Ear aspirators are sometimes used for children who pick up ear infections or the flu, but they can work just as well for adults, and they aren’t expensive to purchase or difficult to use. They can also work great in combination with some of the other methods that appear on this list: Feel free to combine whichever of these methods work best for you.
4. Avoiding direct windblown into the ear
One of the worst things, when you have ear pain, is the feeling of cold windblown directly into the ear. It can make the ear pain instantly worse, and it can make it feel like it’s radiating through to the rest of your skull (or blowing right through your head).
If you have ear pain, one of the first things that you should do is to avoid the wind. A simple scarf can help to close up the ears for the duration of the symptom if you have to go outside in windy or cold weather – and you’ll be very glad that you did.
This can bring some temporary relief to your ear pain, although you might also want to combine it with some of the other methods on this list to make sure that you’re treating the underlying cause of the ear pain and not just covering up the symptom.
5. Tobacco smoke directly into the ear
Tobacco is one of the most ancient plants that we’ve been cultivating for thousands of years, and there are many ancient ritualistic uses associated with the tobacco plant – no, it’s not just something that goes into a cigarette, and we’ve changed the compounds of the original plant with additives and bleach that a cigarette and a tobacco plant aren’t nearly the same things.
If you have access to rolling tobacco, which doesn’t contain many of the same additives that you’d find in a ready-rolled cigarette out of a pack, blowing a mouthful of smoke directly into the ear can bring relief to earache.
It’s one of the most ancient treatments for general ear pain and an ear infection, and there are still thousands of people all over the world today who swear by it as a treatment. If this still doesn’t work for you, then combine it with another method on this list.
6. The use of an herbal steam bath
Some of the conditions that cause ear pain can also cause the same symptoms that go together with colds and flu. This includes symptoms like a sore throat, blocked nose and headaches – and all of these symptoms can happen together due to the fact that the ear, nose and throat channels are linked within the body and infections might spread or affect all three of these areas at the same time.
If you have ear pain due to any of these causes, filling up a container with hot water and placing the head over this is likely to help. It’s one of the best things you can do for “opening up” these channels easily and naturally without resorting to the use of a hot bath, which is best avoided by anyone who has potential heart trouble.
Add essential oils or herbs to the water for an enhanced effect. Ones like eucalyptus have been proven to bring temporary relief to ear pain.
7. Using an ear candle
If you have severe ear pain due to an ear infection or due to the build-up of wax in the ears that you can’t reach with an ear-bud, using an ear candle can be one of the fastest ways to open up the ears – and one of the best ways to get rid of the pain. Many people have never heard of an ear candle before, and if you haven’t, the idea behind an ear candle is to burn one end – the end that doesn’t go into the ear – and this subsequently pulls what shouldn’t be inside the ear out of it.
It’s available at most drug stores (or online), they’re cheap and they’re easy to use – as long as you read the instructions before you use them or watch a YouTube video on how to use them in the right way.
Sometimes you might need to ask someone for help if you’ve never used an ear candle before. If not, you can always just try another method on this list.
8. Chili or Spice
Chili or any spice like black pepper are likely the last things that you are going to think of if you are going through the symptoms of colds, flu or ear pain – but it should actually be one of the very first.
There’s a good reason why you won’t often hear people in countries with a high-spice diet complaining about the flu. When compared, chili is a lot higher in vitamins than most fruits and there are many other great benefits that can be associated with their consumption.
Additionally, the same compounds in chili that cause the characteristic burn can also help to relieve ear pain by helping the body to get rid of the infection that’s causing it.
Moderate chili consumption can help to relieve ear pain and stuffed airways that can be associated with flu: Of course, don’t push it so far that your digestive system reacts badly to it, either.
9. Warm milk with honey
A glass of warm milk is one of the first things that people will recommend to someone who is struggling to fall asleep – and it’s true that the compounds in a glass of warm milk can help your body and brain to relax, and it can help someone to fall back into a natural sleeping routine just with one glass a few minutes before going to sleep.
But this isn’t the only thing that it’s good for. The compounds in milk also means that it’s ideal for steeping herbal teas, and a combination of milk and turmeric can be great for taking care of ear pain and the infections that cause it in a natural, healthy way that has plenty of other benefits for your body at the same time.
If you don’t like turmeric or don’t have it available, there are other herbs you can use for the same including lavender, and the same drink can be made with milk substitutes if you’re allergic to lactose.
10. Leaving the ears untouched
Although it might be tempting to go digging with an earbud, anyone who has ear pain should know to be extremely careful with it by default – and while some of the methods in this article recommend the use of an earbud (or q-tip), never push it directly into the ear and never use it for anything more than a slight, gentle clean of the ear canal.
Cleaning is recommended, digging is not. It’s recommended that (other than the potential treatments listed here), it’s best to leave the ear canals untouched if you suspect that you might have an infection or if you are experiencing symptoms like pain in the ears.
Touching the ears can spread the infection or make the potential damage the infection could cause worse: Try another method rather than persisting with an earbud or continuing with a method that doesn’t help – and try to avoid touching the ears at all when they hurt.