Earache occurs both in adults and children but is more common in children. The level of discomfort varies from just a dull ache to extremely painful stabbing pains in the ears. Babies and children can sometimes get a fever when they have an earache.
Causes of Earache
• Sudden changes in weather, for instance, becoming very cold quickly.
• Having a cold. Mucus can build up in the middle ear and cause earache.
• Dental problems. Sometimes a problem with the teeth can cause referred pain in the ears. Sometimes there is a structural problem with the jaw.
• Otitis media. This is the medical term for ear infection. Not all earaches are ear infections.
How you treat earache depends on its cause. See your doctor for a diagnosis. If there is an infection then antibiotics are not normally needed as most infections clear up within three days without any treatment. Antibiotics may be considered if the patient is a baby.
If an auditory processing disorder is occurring, you or your loved one can be referred to an ENT specialist who will be able to help re-train the brain to interpret sound correctly. This is normally done by emitting pink noise into your ear via a device that looks like a hearing aid, over a prolonged period of time. They can also explore other ways to help.
If you or your doctor think the pain is being caused by a dental problem, your dentist will be able to advise on your best course of treatment.
Home Remedies for Earache
For general earache, you could try:
• Wrapping up warm in cold weather. Wear a hat that covers your ears.
• Microwave some olive oil for 15 seconds only, then use a syringe to put the olive oil into the ear. Important: stir the olive oil first to get rid of any hot spots and test it with your finger before you insert it, to make sure it isn’t too hot. Warmed olive oil often stops ear pain.
• Dip some cotton wool in mouthwash solution and plug the ear with it.
• Boil a whole onion and then squeeze some of the juice out into a cup. Then pour the juice into the ear. You can also syringe it or dip a cotton bud into it to plug the ear. Another variation of this remedy is to place the boiled onion in a clean sock and hold it against your ear. Onion juice was used for generations before the widespread use of pain medications.
• Garlic cloves are said to be beneficial to earache and can be used in the same way, although be warned, garlic juice does sometimes cause a burning pain in the ear and should only be used for adults or older children.
• Lying down with a heated wheat bag around your neck and ears can provide temporary relief.
• If you have a cold or think your earache is due to congestion, have probiotic drinks to help aid the speed of your recovery.
Earaches are much less common in people who have been breast fed, so give your children the greatest gift you can and breast feed them. The benefits last into adulthood.
Source: Patient UK.
Home remedies have been tested out by the author and they are what worked for her.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.