Woman holding her ear in pain

Almost everyone has suffered from an earache at some point in their lives. While pain in the ear often accompanies things as harmless as the seasonal flu, it can indicate that there is a more serious underlying health issue. Apart from the difficulty in sleeping and other issues that arise as a result of earaches, they can interfere with everyday tasks, considerably reducing one’s quality of life. 

While the best course of action with earaches is to refer to an ENT, there are certain things that patients can do in the interim to alleviate their pain. We have compiled some here for your reference. 

Steam Inhalation

This is one of the easiest things that can be done for various types of infections. Beyond just curing infections, inhaling steam is also a great method for preventing them from spreading to other areas. In cases where fluid accumulates in the ears, for example, inhaling hot steam can clear it up instantly. This can be accomplished either by taking a hot shower or inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water. 


Earaches are often a symptom of a middle ear infection, in which there is a bacterial or viral attack on the inner ear. In such cases, garlic is an effective treatment method. Its active ingredient, allicin, is a potent antiviral that can eradicate infections throughout the body. Patients can receive these benefits either through the consumption of raw garlic or by taking garlic supplements. However, patients who are currently taking antibiotics might want to speak with their ENT before supplementing with it. 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is another good option for alleviating the symptoms of an earache because it has potent antiseptic properties. It contains something known as terpinen-4-ol, which is known for its ability to kill off unwanted bacteria. Beyond that, it is also a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory supplement. However, like other essential oils, tea tree oil should never be applied alone. It must always be mixed with a ‘carrier’ oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil. 

Neck Massages

Many patients who suffer from chronic earaches find that massaging both the tender area and the region surrounding the ear itself can be a great help. These massages work by draining out the excess fluid from the ears, relieving pain and reducing inflammation in the process.

The following steps are usually recommended for ear massage:

  • Apply light pressure to the area behind the ears and slowly move down the neck.
  • Gradually move the fingers to the front of the ears and continue to apply the same amount of pressure. 

What Is the Takeaway?

Earaches are an incredibly common issue that come with a good deal of pain and inconvenience. While they may seem untreatable, there are many methods available to help address the problem. However, it is always best to refer to a licensed ENT in attempting to treat the issue. The aforementioned protocols should only be taken as a temporary solution until a proper diagnosis can be made.

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