The most common cause of ear pain is an ear infection. There can be intense pain when the ear gets infected, there is an inflammation or pressure-buildup.  There can be other symptoms also such as the sore throat or sinus pressure


Here are some effective as well as safe remedies that can be tried at home to treat an ear infection.

Who should try home remedies for getting relief from an ear infection?

Doctors recommend not to try the following home remedies for a child who is less than 2 years of age. The main reason being that treating children with home remedies can complicate the problem. 


According to guidelines published in the journal ‘Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’, one can try a wait-and-see approach, that involves no antibiotics, for many children and adults suffering from ear infections.


Moreover, doctors recommend older patients who are not experiencing any symptoms such as fever or pain while swallowing/ drinking to follow the home remedies.

Home remedies for treating ear infection in adults


  • Apply warm compress


An ear infection can cause severe ear pain. So much so that completing daily rituals becomes difficult. To get relief, apply a warm and cold compress alternatively. 


  • Put warm oil in the ear


For pain caused due to ear infection without a hole in the eardrum, putting a few drops of warm oil gently into the ear canal can help. You can warm the oil with garlic or ginger for better results. Moreover, several essential oils can also work. These oils are very effective for ear infection as these all are anti-inflammatory in nature.

Also Read: How Coconut oil can help in treating ear infection?


  • Put a few drops of herbal extract 


Mixing oil with allium sativum, verbascum thapsus, calendula flores, hypericum perforatum, lavender and vitamin E can alleviate middle ear infection in children. 


  • Blow-dry the ear


People who are prone to developing swimmer’s ear should always keep their ears dry. This reduces the risk of infection in the ear exponentially. Simply blow-drying the air with a hair dryer dries the ear canal immediately.


  • Mix a solution of equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and vinegar


Another effective DIY remedy for treated otitis externa is rubbing alcohol and vinegar. The former evaporates trapped water inside the ear while the latter prevents the bacteria from spreading. Hence, apply a few drops of the solution inside the ear if suffering from an infection.

Also Read: Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide solution inside the ears?


  • Put a few drops of onion


Onions are anti-inflammatory as these are rich in flavonoids- quercetin. Simply squeeze the juice of the onion and put a few drops inside the ear. Another way is simply putting half cut onion inside the ear. 

Also Read: Home remedies for treating ear infection in babies

Natural remedies to treat ear infection in adults

Some natural remedies can help in getting relief from symptoms of ear infection such as earache, fluid buildup, etc.


  • Ear popping


Popping the ears open can help in determining whether there is an infection in the ears or not. Pristyn Care doctor explains that ear-popping is an indicator of healthy ears. To do this, close the mouth and hold the nostrils and then simply breathe out through the nose. The ears should just pop open similar to the sound when there is pressure change while changing altitude- flying on a plane or climbing the mountain. 


  • Inhaling steam


Steam helps in clearing up congestion. This remedy is very effective. One just has to take a steamy shower or inhale the steam from a large bowl of hot water.


  • Gargling with saltwater


An ear infection can develop due to the spreading of germs from an already developed throat infection. In such gases, gargling with some salt dissolved water can help in treating the infection in the throat and thereby, eventually cure the ear infection too.

Also Read: How to get relief from earache naturally?

Dr. Richa Mina, Pristyn Care ENT doctor says, “When none of the above-mentioned home remedies provide the desired results such as alleviating earache or treating the ear infection, it’s time to pay the doctor a visit”. Some ear infections can only be treated with antibiotics while leaving some other type of ear infections can lead to serious complications including death.

Treating infection due to ear piercing at home

Yes, you read that right. Ear piercing can be another reason for developing an ear infection. If the infection is minor, it can be taken care of home itself. However, if the piercing has damaged the cartilage then seek medical help immediately.

Here’s how you can take an ear piercing infection at home-

  1. Wash the hands before touching the piercing
  2. Rinse thrice a day around the piercing with a saltwater solution. You can make your own saline solution at home.
  3. Avoid using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any antibiotic ointment because these can worsen the condition.
  4. Do not remove the piercing as this can close up the hole and trap the infection inside.
  5. Clean both sides of the earlobes and pat it dry with paper towels.

How are ear infections treated when home remedies don’t work?

When home remedies prove to be ineffective, types of ear infections are treated differently.

  • Acute otitis externa- Also known as swimmer’s ear, doctors prescribe antibiotic ear drops.
  • Otitis media with effusion- This type of infection cures on its own and doesn’t require antibiotics.
  • Acute otitis media- The body’s immune system is able to fight off this infection in the middle ear. Sometimes, antibiotics are also needed to treat the infection.

How To Prevent Ear Infection in Adults

Here are some preventive measures that can reduce the risk of ear infections in adults-

  • Avoid common colds and other illnesses
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Make sure your vaccines are up to date
  • Wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs
  • Keep the ears clean by washing them or using a cotton swab carefully
  • After swimming or taking a shower, make sure the ears are dry
  • Avoid triggers to manage allergic reactions. Hence, keep anti-allergens handy.

Sometimes, developing an ear infection becomes inevitable. In addition to this, some infections can only be cured with doctor-prescribed antibiotics. In such cases, it is important to pay the ENT doctor a visit. If you are looking for consulting with a doctor, you can also contact Pristyn Care clinics or simply book an online consultation


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26832942
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/downloads/Ear-Infections-Antibiotics.pdf
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