How to Soothe an Earache


Any type of pressure in the region of the head is generally painful, and earaches top the list. Knowing how to soothe an earache is an important bit of knowledge every parent should have at his or her fingertips.

Keep in mind that an earache can come on for a variety of reasons and often accompanies a cold, the flu, or a sore throat, such as strep, as well as when baby is cutting teeth. Because an earache often strikes during the night or becomes worse during the night, it?'s often hard to be seen by a physician immediately. Having a few tricks up your sleeve will ease both your child?'s pain and your anxiety. Because you probably won?'t know the exact origin of the earache and because some earaches will not go away without an antibiotic, it?'s best to contact your physician at your earliest convenience.

Until you do see your physician, however, here are several tried and true methods for getting rid of an earache, even if it?'s only temporary.

How to Soothe an Earache
If you?'re attempting to get rid of an earache, your first line of defense is warmth. Moist heat is even better. There are several ways to warm up the ear and thereby stop the majority of the pain.

  • Hot moist towel. Soak a towel in water that is as hot as you can stand with your bare hands. Squeeze out the excess water and then wrap the towel around the painful ear, like a doughnut. Lie down so the ear is ?"cupped?" within the heated towel. Reheat the towel as needed.
  • Hot water bottle. If you use a hot water bottle, fill it halfway or three-fourths of the way. Then place the bottle directly on a flat pillow. Put a soft towel or receiving blanket over the hot water bottle and place the aching ear directly on the towel. Find a comfortable spot and rest quietly. Replace the hot water bottle as needed.
  • Hot Rice. If you don?'t have a hot water bottle, you can always opt for the hot rice in a sock method. Pour uncooked rice into a sock and place it in the microwave for a few seconds. (Rice can burn quickly in the microwave. To avoid scorching or burning the rice, do not leave it in the microwave for more than a few seconds at a time.) Tie the end of the sock in a knot and wrap it in a moist towel.
  • Warm mineral oil. Use an eyedropper to place a few drops of warm mineral oil into the ear canal. To ensure the oil drips drop into the ear canal, pull the outer edge of the ear lightly. This movement will cause the oil to slide farther into the ear.
  • Heated plate. Another method that works is a small plate heated in hot water or in the microwave. Wrap the plate in a soft towel and then place it on the pillow with the painful ear resting over the plate. If the sides of the plate curve up slightly, that?'s a plus, as the ear then fits into the ?"cup?" of the plate easier with little or no pressure.
  • Heating pad. Use a heating pad sparingly, especially with children. Heating pads tend to become very hot or have hot spots and delicate skin can easily be burned if exposed to a heating pad overlong. Always use a cloth cover on a heating pad.

How to Keep From Getting an Earache

  • Stay out of the wind. This is especially important for babies and young children.
  • Use a decongestant to keep the pressure down when you have a cold.
  • Wear a bite block if you clench your teeth at night.
  • Try not to fly if you have a cold or sore throat. If you normally experience ear issues on an airplane, take a decongestant before you get on the plane to keep your head and ears clear.
  • To prevent ears from becoming clogged during a flight, take gum along to chew when the airplane is taking off and landing.


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