Many people think earaches are just small problems, but they can cause big pain. It’s best to get it checked out to find out the root cause. However, it also helps to know how to treat an earache at home and get some relief until you visit the doctor’s office. If you have symptoms of this health condition, it’s critical to watch if it goes away within a day or two.
What Exactly Is an Earache?
Earaches tend to happen in kids, but teens and adults can also get them. In 2006 about 12% of all US children experienced an earache. This condition might affect one/both ears, but typically it’s just one ear. Earaches might happen from time to time or continuously.
There are various symptoms connected to this condition. They include fever, infections, and short-term hearing loss. If children have earaches, they often become moody or rub/pull their ears. There are various symptoms that people with this condition can experience.
The various symptoms of this condition include:
- The ear doesn’t feel full
- Loss of hearing
- Sleeping problems
- Fluid drain
- Ear pain
- Loss of balance
If you or your child experiences any of these symptoms, it’s best to get it checked out. This is especially true if the symptoms have lasted one or two days. A doctor needs to check out the ear to figure out what the main cause is.
There are several causes of earaches. One of the main ones is ear infections. This can happen in either the inner, middle, or outer ear. The infections can be caused by various factors like headphones, hearing aids, or swimming.
Meanwhile, a cause of inner ear pain can result from the skin getting scratched/irritated. Sometimes water softens the ear canal’s skin, which can make it easier for bacteria to grow.
Other causes of earaches include:
- Sinus infection
- Trapped shampoo
- Object in ear
- Strep throat
- Dental issues
- Using cotton swabs
- Earwax buildup
- Eardrum damage
An ENT specialist can inspect your ear to determine the cause of your pain. He/She can then prescribe treatments to deal with the problem.
How to Treat an Earache At Home
Here are some DIY remedies that are often effective in treating them. They include:
There are both practical options on how to treat an earache. For example, you can reduce inflammation by using a heating pad. There are several available at online retailers like Amazon and Walmart. These are very easy to use. Simply apply the hot pad to your ear and let it sit for around 20 minutes. You should also consider touching the throat/neck using the hot pad.
Meanwhile, a cold pack could also relieve the pain you experience. Just wrap some ice in a paper towel or freeze the cold pack and use a light cloth to cover it. Hold the cold pack on the ear region and the area right under your ear for about 20 minutes.
One of the most common treatments includes pain-relievers known as NSAIDs). They can provide short-term pain relief. There are various options like Aspirin and Advil. While these are OTC medicines. It’s important to talk to your doctor first before starting them. That will help to determine if there are any risks involved based on your health conditions, current medicines, etc.
You can gently massage the ear to help relieve pain that moves out from the teeth/jaw, which causes headaches. You could massage the soft area and the muscles around them.
This treatment can help to decrease pressure on the ear due to earwax or fluid. There are non-prescription and prescription drops available. It’s critical to read the product’s directions carefully before using them. This will help to provide you with the best results.
One thing to keep in mind is prescription drops and antibiotics are generally the best option. So, it’s critical to only use non-prescription ear drops for a couple of days. If the symptoms don’t stop then you should schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Top Tips for Better Ear Health
Maintain dry ears
The reason is bacteria like wet and warm areas. If you have wet inner ears this can cause health conditions like “swimmer’s ear.” This can cause hearing loss. After you bathe or swim make sure to towel-dry the ears gently. This can help to prevent bacteria growth in your ears.
Follow medication directions
Make sure to read and follow them. For example, you don’t take NSAID medicines properly it can result in hearing loss. It’s important to talk to your doctor about taking such medicines. it’s critical to know whether they could affect hearing, and if so, how much. This can help to guide you so you’ll know which medicines to take or avoid.
Don’t put cotton swabs in the ears
The old rule of not putting any objects in your ear still applies. If you have problems like wax buildup then see an ENT specialist. They have the know-how and equipment needed for such problems. If you put cotton swabs in your ear you risk the chance of ear damage, which is something you’ll want to avoid.
Do regular exercise
The reason is this can provide several benefits for your ear health. They include cardio exercises including cycling, running, and walking. This helps to boost blood flow to the ears.
This is important if you’re around loud sounds due to chainsaws, lawnmowers, concerts, etc. In these situations, the loud noises are part of the job/venue so it’s important to wear earplugs to protect your ears. You can find even better ear protection like over-ear units if the noise levels are super-high.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports 11 billion teens/young adults around the world are at risk of hearing loss due to noise-related hearing loss from using audio devices. They’re one of the main causes of hearing loss related to how to treat an earache.