Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
I have always suffered from ear aches during the cold windy season, and if I am swimming (I had repeated infections when I was in my teens). My doctor has recommended that I clear my ears by sucking in and pushing out to make the muscles below the ear work out.
Each time I feel an earache coming on, I repeat these exercises and it works wonderfully. No more aspirin, no more sleepless nights.
Source: Dr Rusca
By Nerida from Switzerland
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I've had some colds/bronchitis recently (still have a cough) and now one of my ears is completely plugged up. I've tried the Murine Ear Wax Removal, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Alcohol, but so far nothing has worked. Anyone have any suggestions or do I need to see the doctor? Thanks.
Bonnie from Tuckerton, NJ
I can usually unstop my ears with warm water, peroxide and an ear bulb. I just keep compressing and squirting water in my ear until it opens up. Sometimes it takes 4 or 5 times. But, my husband has had times when his ear would not open up not matter what he used. He found out his ear tubes were collapsed. The doctor told him to hold his nose and shut his mouth and blow really hard. He had to do this 5 or 6 times a day, but it finally cleared his ears. Hope this helps. Boy, it can be so annoying.
If you have bronchitis, you really need to see the doctor before it goes into your chest. My daughters have this often and the longer you wait, the worse it gets.
If it is just your ears that are stopped up, saline solution sprayed into your nose will help clear up your ears. You might need to spray it a couple of times, then remember to use it when needed. It beats having to take a decongestant and feel bad while it works.
A year and a half ago, I had a really bad cold that plugged up my ears for several weeks. Nothing would make them pop. After a couple of rounds of antibiotics to clear the ear infections that had settled in, one ear popped, but the other stayed stubbornly plugged up. My primary doctor referred me to a specialist, and that is when it was discovered that I have a genetic hearing loss! Having my ears plugged up so long made it worse. My ear finally did pop a little bit a few times, but I still feel like it's slightly plugged up. Prior to my ears being plugged up for so long, I had only mild hearing difficulties. Since then, my hearing loss is definitely an issue for me. Please get it checked out.
At our house, most things are handled by "Dr. Mom", and she has found out through a friend that oregano oil works wonders. I buy the capsules and if you take it three times a day while ill, it'll kick most things in short order. It works particularly well for upper respiratory problems, or sinus issues. Try it, and if it's particularly bad, take grape seed extract at the same time.
Go to a health food store and buy a Neti Pot, or a sinus irigation pot. They are wonderful for colds, allergies, and the like. Every time I use mine, my eustachian tubes open. I've gotten off all meds and feel so much better. We even had to get my husband one of his own, since after using mine, he refused to give it back. Stay away from dairy--it'll may your problem much worse.
I too would like to share my recent experience with ear fullness as recently as Labour Day weekend 2008. I woke up in the middle of the night to a resounding ringing in both ears, sharp pains, and fullness fairly mild in my right ear but completely full in left ear. My ears were red, nose was congested and I had an headache from ear-to-ear. If I covered my right ear it was almost as if someone was trying to talk to me from behind a brick wall. I consulted with a doctor at a walk-in clinic and they diagnosed my situation as a severe sinus cold, which sounded reasonable as my wife was coming off a cold that she caught from my daughter, who likely got it from some other child at her daycare facility. The headache, eye issues and nose congestion went away but I had a terrible sensation of ear fullness in my left ear that left me unable to sleep at night because of it. What was prescribed to me to combat this was an antibiotic called Biaxin, which contains clarithromycin, for a 7 day period. 4 days into the cycle, I felt no difference and consulted with my family doctor and he told me to complete the cycle and then see but he also suggested that I take a nasal decongestant called Avamys. After the 7th day, I started to notice some improvement, instead of fullness, my ear started to pop and crackle when I would swallow. A good sign. But it wasn't until the 9th or 10th day when things turned to the better and to this day everything is back to normal. It was a gradual and steady improvement and what I avoided (although I was very tempted at times) was using Q-tips, popping my ears or putting any solution in them until the Biaxin/Avamys had its chance to do its thing. I thought to share this story with those who are experiencing a similar situation as I did in the hope of offering another suggestion/direction that might lead you toward a recourse in alleviating the problem.
"Hold the nose and close mouth and blow really hard seemed to work for my daughter, so far one ear is unplugged, we'll keep trying for the other ear. "
This is HORRIBLE advice. DO NOT DO THIS ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN. It may feel like you are unplugging your ears, but doing this can cause a very serious outer ear infection, which is untreatable with antibiotics, very painful, and can last up to 4 weeks. Unfortunately I know from experience. Watch where you get your medical advice! You can also damage your eardrum permanently doing this!
I have a really bad ear ache. It is so bad, my teeth feel like its aching too. What do I do?
By Alissa from Erie, PA
Take 5 drops of tea tree oil an 6 drops of sweet oil or olive oil mix well. Put it in the ear stop pain and infections.
Have it examined to rule out Temporomandibular Disorder, the deranged jaw joint problem. There's only 1/8" between ear canal and that joint, and pushing on it that way can be diagnostic. Long time dental hygienist, Kim
I have a bad earache on the left side of my face and swollen gland on the left as well. My face is very tender and sore on left side and I keep getting an odd shooting pain in my face and ear. What should I do?
It sounds like you scratched your ear and got an infection. Go to the doctor for some antibiotics! In the mean time you can lay with the swollen side up and soak your ear with peroxide, then blow dry it. The warm air will feel good, and keeping your ear dry is important.
I have suffered ear aches for about 5 years, ever since I had mono. My left ear will ache with the slightest cold breeze, along with the right but not as much. It is a deep inside ache. When I caught mono, I was sleeping next to a cold window in winter with my left side next to the window (makes sense my left ear is the bad one). If it is cold outside and I don't wear a hat, they hurt. If I clean my ears with a q-tip, the next day they hurt. I also get vertigo when the ear pain is bad. If I have a sore throat, it is worse on the left side.
When I had mono, my lymph nodes were very swollen in the back of my neck, worse on the left side. Ever since then I have neck pain and stiffness and aching, all on the left side primarily. I will see a ENT doctor very soon. What do you think? I ask because I currently have a bad left ear ache with off and on strong to slight vertigo, and a slight sore throat. My left tonsil was clogged, I had never had that, and I removed the yucky clog yesterday.
By Andi from Hubbardston, MA
I've had some of your problems. I had recurring mono for three falls in a row (last year of high school, and first two years of college). That was 20 years ago. I can't sleep with air blowing on me, because I'll get an earache/sore throat. But I've been like that since I was a kid. And I get those icky things in the back of my throat; it's worse when I've got active sinus issues. There is one spot that I can just feel when it's happening, so I go take a q-tip and can work it out. I asked about it at the Dentist's office, and they didn't sound too terribly concerned. The hygienist's husband has the same problem. I kind of wish my tonsils were removed when I was a kid, but that's one of those things . . .
I had a lot more problems with earaches and sore throats when I was in my mid-20's. My wisdom teeth came in, and two were severely impacted. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was constantly getting infections from them. I just thought I was always catching something. Since I had all four wisdom teeth removed, I've had FAR fewer earaches/sore throats. So, if you haven't had yours removed, it's something to think about.
I can't really offer anything else. Just that I understand some of what you're going through. I think that, over the years, I've just learned to cope (like, in the winter, I make sure I keep my sheet pulled up over my ear so cold air won't hit it). I hope that your ENT is very thorough and can offer some help. Let us know how it goes!
Only you can tell when you need to see a doctor, but nowadays I understand some doctors are recommending garlic oil for earache in children to avoid using so many antibiotics. This is how I make it for my great grand baby.
Take some nice fresh garlic cloves and crush them well. Put in your normal cooking oil, any kind in jar with lid.Let sit at least an hour on counter, and after that you can refrigerate. To use, strain out a little oil into bowl or cup and sit cup or bowl in another container of hot water, like a small pan of water which had been brought to boil and taken off burner. Use qtips which are soaked in warm oil and let it drip into ear, rather than poking it into ear. After a few days, take garlic out of oil in fridge and just keep oil capped.
You could microwave on 5=6 seconds, but garlic is supposed to be semi antibiotic and I don't know if that effect would be neutralized with microwaves, so I just use the old fashioned water bath method.After oil is in ear, I put in a little wad of soft cotton just until it stops being drippy.
Does a warm hot water bottle work? Or warm pack.
My 10 year old has an ear ache. Tylenol is not working. I have no heating pads and no rice to make one. What can I do for him?
By Kristin C.
What could I do to make my ear ache go away?
By Stephanie C. from Savannah, TN
Forget about home remedies, and get to a doctor. You could have an infection, requiring antibiotics, which could cause you to lose part or all of your hearing in that ear, unless you treat it.
Where ear infections are concerned, you only have a very SMALL window of treatment opportunity--about two weeks, according to my ENT specialist--before permanent damage can take place.
So please, get to a doctor quickly.
I use a homeopathic ear drop that is made for children. It's called Similasan Children's Earache Relief. You can buy it at any drug store, and sometimes in Wal-mart.
I have done this for years and it works. Get some Vicks put a tiny dab on a small cotton ball remember just a little warm it up not hot put inside the ear then rub some around the outside of the ear. I have done this on my kids and grand kids. That little bottle of Vicks is a miracle worker. I use it for all things. I keep it my medicine cabinet with a can of snuff, that's good for insect bites.
I used to have a lot of trouble with ear aches which was due to what they call swimmer's ear and which didn't start until I was in my 30's. I seldom swim, but have lived in a humid climate since my 30's. A family doctor recommended homemade ear drops of half alcohol and half vinegar to help keep my ears dry. I also use ear wax removal every month or two to keep my ears clear of the excessive wax that I have always had to contend with!
The MD told me years ago, while treating son for swimmer's ear, that if you put the corner of the towel in the ear after swimming,showering that will draw out any water. She also said that girls don't get as many swimmer's ears because of the use of blow dryers - so she told the boys to carefully use the hand dryer in the locker room after swimming. No more problems and that was about 7 years ago! Good luck -and I agree with "get to an MD". You don't want to mess up your hearing or deal with pain any longer than necessary!
If not too deep, use straight Peroxide drops several times a day, plug with cotton after a few minutes. Stop eating/drinking all milk and by products, including dips, cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, and salad dressings, as you may have developed a milk sensitivity and the WHEY in all those products is mucogenic (causes mucous in membranes like the sinus which drains into the throat and sometimes gets infected by trapping bacteria/virus which then can get into the ear). If you are sensitive now, it makes reactions worse, slower to heal. Keep hands and nails extra clean, especially before treating or touching ear, even cotton balls. Wash hair brushes, hair, pillowcases, and get a new toothbrush. All can contribute to any infection in the head.
I suggest taking over the counter Guafinesin (1-2 days as directed on box if not taking RX) expectorant, because it inadvertently also decongests other mucous membrane areas, don't know why. Also, take one strong Tylenol every 4 hours for 1-2 days until pain is gone and you no longer need relief.
Put no q-tips, or other instruments or pencils into the ear EVER to "scratch what itches" as we all do from time to time, sometimes without even thinking, because they are not sterile and can infect ears easily at any time. Also, stop eating popcorn, cheap crackers, cheap buttery products because there is some type of chemical in spray butter, which they also use before making fast food burgers, that gets into our mucous and plugs the ears. It took me years to figure it out.
If you have a fever, forget this and go to the doctor, if not, it is likely what will work for you, even after seeing a doctor. I'm not medically trained, just an experienced elder who prefers natural healing where possible, not eliminating all meds, but reducing the heavy dependency on them!
God bless, heal and help you. : )
My husband had wax build up and we went to the local health food store and bought an ear candle it helps melt the wax.
Right now I have mono and I have a really bad ear infection in my right ear. It hurts so bad, every time I cough, swallow, etc. I get this sharp pain on the inside of my right ear. What can I use to help with the pain?
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Can you tell me what to do for the relief of an earache from getting bathwater in the ear?
By Marilou from Black River Falls, WI
Heat a few drops of Johnson's Baby Oil and put a few drops into the ear or take marigold petals and squeeze the juice into a teaspoon and drop into the ears. (12/25/2009)
Try dropping peroxide from an ear dropper into your ear. It dries out the moisture; then hold a folded washcloth over the ear and aim the warm air from a blow dryer set on low, into the covered ear. The warmth will help ease the pain. (12/28/2009)
I and one of my sons have had trouble with our ears most of our life due to having crooked ear canals. He now uses a water irrigator to clean his ears. It is really sold to irrigate your teeth. I tried it one time, but the jet stream of water only seemed to drive the ear wax further into my ears.
My doctor suggested using a mixture of half alcohol and half vinegar in my ears. I keep a mixture of half vinegar and water in my medicine cabinet which has kept me from having further ear problems for more than twenty years. I never had problems when I lived in southern California. Only after I moved to the East Coast where it is a lot more humid did I begin to have constant ear problems. (12/28/2009)
I like the peroxide idea. I use a couple of drops to help with cleansing the ear instead of using Q-tips. Another suggestion for an earache is colloidal silver, sold in most health food stores, in dropper form.
It is used for external infections, an antiseptic, and disinfectant in medical appliances. (08/28/2010)
What can I do to help with an ear ache?
By Amy Beth from Dallas, TX
If the earache stems from an inflamed wisdom tooth or a tooth, you can take a sinus medication and this works wonders for me. It will even get my wisdom tooth to go back to normal and not be inflamed any longer and the earache will also disappear. (08/12/2009)
When I was a child my mother would use clove oil for ear aches. She would put some on a teaspoon then heat it slightly with a match under the spoon. You have to make sure the oil is warm, not hot. She would then pour the oil in our ear and put some cotton to keep out any cold air. Usually she only had to do this once or twice to help the earache. The clove oil helps the pain and warming the oil helps to break down the wax buildup. (08/17/2009)
By K Kwaak
Ditto to the poster who mentioned hydrogen peroxide. I'm prone to sinus infections and ignoring them until they involve the ear canal, too. My GP told me to throw a couple of drops of the peroxide full-strength into the ear to alleviate the pain quickly and until the doc can look at it if the pain persists or is accompanied by any discharge, bleeding or fever.
The peroxide will degrade ear wax, if a buildup of that is your only problem and will also help to bubble out some of the infection if there's one brewing there.
If the pain persists, though, off to the doctor is your best bet. Using home remedies for a long-term fix isn't a good idea, and there's always the danger of a ruptured eardrum after infection kicks in. (08/17/2009)
I use "sweet oil" for an earache. 1 teaspoon in and tilt your ear slightly and use a 1/2 cotton ball. Works for me. (08/20/2009)
Press your ear against a hot water bottle (covered, of course), or make a hot compress and place on your ear. Hope you feel better soon. (08/24/2009)
You know how you put your finger in your ear and wiggle it as if to get water out or something like that. Well I did that and got a quick throbbing pain. I went to the doctor and she gave me earwax remover. That helps with my hearing, but what about the pain. Its been four days now and I don't want to over do it with Tylenol and other pain killers. I've even tried applying heat. Any suggestions? I'm going nuts.
Caneisha from Franklin Park, IL
Take 5 drops of tea tree oil and 6 drops of sweet oil or olive oil and mix well. Put it in the ear. It stops pain and infections. (04/09/2008)
Have it examined to rule out Temporomandibular Disorder, the deranged jaw joint problem. There's only 1/8 inch between ear canal and that joint, and pushing on it that way can be diagnostic. Long time dental hygienist.
Take a small piece of cotton ball, put a few drops of tea tree oil on it and put inside ear. You can also rub tea tree oil on outside of ear area, where pain is. Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and it will penetrate the skin. I use it on so many things (sore throats, swollen glands, sinus pain, cold sores, hang nails, etc. But "Do not use it internally". Do not pour it into your ear like someone posted earlier. (04/10/2008)
The only way I can get relief when my ear is infected, is by going to the ENT doctor, getting antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory, a Loratab for the pain, and a Myringotomy (tube in my ear). Provided that the one I have or had has either fallen out or has gotten clogged. This procedure relieves the pressure immediately. Don't mess around and wait till it gets extremely infected, you could damage your hearing, or worse. Parents should always take their children to the Doctor if they have an earache. My son had to have tubes at 11 months old. Hope this helps. (07/25/2008)
My son has had an earache for two days now. It is a recurring problem of wax build up and then it hardens and causes him pain. When I took him to the doctor last time, they used some hook thing to dig at his ear and then the ear syringe to flush it. That was two years ago (he was 4) and he still remembers it. I started using Hydrogen Peroxide and it helped ease the pain and eat the wax.
When he started having these problems, my mom told me what her doctor told her. For wax build up, use Hydrogen Peroxide. For swimmer's ear, a couple drops of rubbing alcohol helps break up the water. I don't know if anyone should try this without speaking to a doctor, but the peroxide is working wonders for my son and I hope this helps someone. (11/07/2008)
A few drops of Campho Phenique really helps to relieve the pain. (12/18/2008)
When I was young my parents had a homeopathic doctor whom I shall not name, but who is now living elsewhere and is very well renown. I had earaches really bad up until I was in the third grade. Of course cotton balls are nice to keep cool air out, but in the case of really bad ear infections like I used to get, onions work really well. You can just cut up a yellow onion so that you have a few half rings to slide snug against the back of the ear, and then crush a few other pieces and soak up the juice into a cotton ball and put that in your ear.
Then make sure to keep everything really warm. Get a towel and lie on your side and watch a movie or something. I even had to wear these compresses to the first grade, you can imagine how that smelled and how popular it made me. But it worked really really well, when nothing else did. The juices from the onion work with the warmth to actually draw the infection out of your ear, just so long as you don't mind smelling like a three day old sandwich with onions on it. (12/23/2008)
(Not for inner ear infection - get antibiotics)
For outer ear ache (touching the ear is horribly sore), put hydrogen peroxide in for 5-10 minutes as you lay on your opposite ear. I use a soaked piece of sterile cotton and squeeze it in. It will crackle as it kills bacteria. Turn over and drain into tissues. Then take 800 mg of ibuprofen for pain and inflammation and put a hot pad gently against it. I use the microwave kind that gets it hot. The heat is what really helps, not the vegetable oil from above messages, and the hot pad is far safer. My ear was almost cured by the next morning, but I will continue with the peroxide treatments each day for a week, to keep it gone. Never clean your ear with objects of any kind, and after swimming or bath, use hair dryer to dry it out. (12/24/2008)
I have a bad ear now and sadly I have been to the doctor's and they gave me some ear drops, but it still hasn't gone away and I've had it for over a week now. I had antibiotics last time I had a bad earache and they helped. So when you go to the doctor ask for tablets as well. (12/30/2008)
I used homeopathic Earache Relief Drops (OTC) that did little to relieve the onset of an earache. After reading the feedback on this site, I used hydrogen peroxide within a half an hour of the drops, followed by a warm, moist compress. I've never heard of using peroxide, but was amazed at the almost instant relief. I followed one person's recommendation to use a soaked cotton swab to squeeze a few drops into my ear. I'm not sure if it was the peroxide alone or the mix of the two. The ingredients in the earache relief drops are Chamomilla HPUS 10x, Mercurius Solubilis HPUS 15x and Sulphur HPUS 12x. (01/25/2009)
I've had this earache for a week and it hurts. I can't hear very much and it hurts when I burp. There was some bleeding but that stopped.