How to Treat Sore Ears

By Meghan Slocum

Sore ears can be caused by a variety of conditions. In children, earaches are usually the result of an ear infection. Earaches in adults may also be caused by some other condition, such as a sinus infection, blockage in the ear canal, arthritis of the jaw, or an infected tooth. Depending on the cause, treating sore ears may require a visit to your doctor. There are, however, a variety of measures that you can take on your own to treat your earache and reduce your discomfort. while waiting to see whether you need help from a doctor.

Put a damp cloth over your sore ear. Experiment with both hot and cold cloths, as the recommended temperature may vary depending on the cause of your ear pain.

Apply over-the-counter ear drops to help ease ear pain. You can purchase ear drops at your local drugstore; natural ear drops are also available in many health food stores.

If you believe your earache is the result of excessive wax buildup, attempt to loosen the wax by applying baby oil, mineral oil, or hydrogen peroxide to the ear canal twice a day. After a couple of days, use a bulb syringe to gently irrigate the ear canal with warm water. This may help to dislodge any impacted wax that may have been causing your earache.

Take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Visit your doctor if your ear pain becomes severe, you start to experience additional symptoms, or your sore ears have not improved after a day or two. Your doctor will try to determine the cause of your earache and decide whether additional treatment is necessary. Antibiotics are often used to treat sore ears when pain is the result of an ear or sinus infection. Your doctor will remove earwax or other objects from the ear if pain is due to a blockage in the ear canal. If pain is the result of a condition not related to the ear, such as TMJ or a tooth infection, your doctor will attempt to treat that condition in order to treat your sore ears.

Tips

Refrain from sticking objects into your ear in an attempt to remove earwax. Such actions usually only result in pushing the wax even deeper into the ear canal. Try not to scratch at your ears. If your earache is the result of swimmer’s ear, an infection of the outer ear canal, scratching will only worsen the infection. A young child may not be able to tell you that his ear hurts. Signs of earache in children often include pulling at the outer ear, increased fussiness, and difficulty sleeping.

Warnings

Experiencing severe ear pain followed by the sudden absence of pain may be a sign that your eardrum has ruptured. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if this happens.

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