The cause of earache varies from case to case. In some cases, earaches are the result of infection, Eustachian tube problems, or from pressure issues like swimmer’s ear or airplane travel.
Since the complications of untreated ear infections can have severe complications including the loss or damage of hearing, it is essential to seek medical attention to determine the cause of the earache.
Ear aches when traveling
Airplane compression, shallow diving and swimming under water can put pressure on the ear, causing pain and earaches. Swimming at the surface, deeper diving and modifications in air travel habits can reduce or prevent ear aches.
Home Remedies for Earaches
Some of the solutions for earache can be simple. Sit up, the pressure from travel can be reduced if you are sitting upright. Swallowing while sitting up right can also improve the draining process of the ear, reduce the pressure and ease the pain.
Chewing gum or yawning both open the jaw muscles and create an internal shift in pressure which can reduce or eliminate the earache pain.
If the earache begins in flight, the American Academy of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery recommends that you pinch your nose, then filling your mouth with air, blow hard into your nose while pinched to offset the pressure. A pop will tell you when you have equalized the pressure inside and out.
Don’t sleep when your airplane is in decent. Swallowing offsets the pressure problems that can cause earaches, during sleep swallowing is reduced. So sleeping early in the flight rather than later can reduce earaches.
Warm Moist Heat
One of the best remedies for earache pain is to apply warm, moist heat. Whether you use a warm compress, an over the counter warming, moist heat compression system which are often warmed in the microwave or you create your own compress using towels, old socks filled with rice, a hot water bottle or other warm compress it is essential to check the temperature to prevent burning to the skin.
It is often a better solution to wrap the compress in a fluffy towel, to protect the ear and cushion the ear from the heat or hard surface of the ear. Also try the warm air setting on a hair blow dryer as the warm air may be comforting in relieving the earache.
Inside the Ear
Many home remedies recommend using oils, like garlic or onion oil, inserted in the ear. It is important to note that any element added to the ear can cause severe complications if the ear drum is ruptured or if the implements and solutions damage the ear canals.
Antibiotics may need to be prescribed for infants and children who are experiencing other symptoms as well.
Try the non-invasive solutions like yawning, chewing gum and warm compresses to try to resolve the earache first. Many believe that increasing zinc and vitamin C in the diet will ward off future earaches by improving the immune system.