Ear pain, earache, or otalgia can be divided into primary and secondary ear pain. Primary ear pain occurs when the pain is from the ear itself, while secondary ear pain is referred from another location and involves or radiates to the ear. Although most causes of ear pain are not life-threatening, it can be debilitating and distressing, especially if it occurs in younger children.
Primary ear pain is most commonly due to ear infection or injury. Causes of secondary ear pain are broad and can be due to conditions such as inflammation of the throat or temporomandibular joint syndrome. Generally, the cause of ear pain can be determined through the patient’s history, symptoms, signs, examination, and if necessary, additional testing. Further tests are usually only required if there are symptoms such as dizziness, hearing loss, unexpected weight loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
The treatment and management of the ear pain will depend on the underlying cause and may involve medications or surgery. Ear pain is especially common among children, with 83 percent of children experiencing one episode of middle ear infection before the age of three. Below are 10 home remedies to try for reducing ear pain.
Home Remedy #1: Warm Compress
A warm compress is a method where heat is applied to one part of the body. Heating sources may include chemical pads, warm water, electrical pads, and microwavable pads. There are also methods that use uncooked rice, hard boiled eggs, or warmed potatoes. The commonest method is using a wet and warm washcloth. A warm compress is a noninvasive method often used in the treatment or management of conditions such as sports injuries and some ophthalmic conditions as it is thought to help increase oxygenation in tissues, improve blood flow, and manage inflammation.
To use a warm compress as a home remedy for ear pain, put a cup or two of rice into a sock or pouch. Seal it and heat it for a short duration until it reaches the desired temperature. Other options include hot water bottles or gel packs that can be heated.