Last Modified on Jul 12, 2014
Ear issues often are regarding pain or loss of hearing; however, since the inner ear is critical to the vestibular system, damage to the ear can also result in health issues such as vertigo and loss of balance.
Inner ear infections are the cause of most ear issues, including hearing loss, pressure, pain, ringing, redness, loss of balance, and even vertigo. Fortunately, in most of these cases the symptoms are temporary and will pass when the infection has abated. Such infections are more prevalent in kids than adults, but anyone swimming in dirty water or otherwise exposed to the appropriate bacteria or viruses can get an ear infection.
Excessive loud noise, general infections, changes in elevation or other changes in pressure, physical trauma, jaw issues, and other conditions can additionally cause issues with ear health.
Natural Cures: A warm compress or music played softly beside the ear can help relieve ear pain, as can analgesics.
08/19/2012: Lucille from New York City, New York: "I can't find any comments on how to help someone with terrible pain when flying especially when landing."Replies
08/20/2012: Bess from Calgary, Alberta, Canada replies: "Hi Lucille - I have had excruciating pain while flying - especially during takeoff and landing - although my ear would constantly ache during the flight. I rarely fly now but, when I have to, I use something called Earplanes - a silicone plug that fits into your ear to regulate pressure. They are available in most drugs stores - in the aisle with eye and ear care and, of course, at the airport (more expensive there). It should do the trick. Good luck! Bess"
08/22/2012: Renee from Bergen Co., Nj replies: "'Yea' for Earplanes. Sudafed also helps but is drying and not good for you."
08/31/2012: Florence from Waiuku, New Zealand replies: "Try an "earpopper" to clear your ears when you are flying. You can find them on the internet. Good Luck, as I know from Experience how painful this condition is, and sometimes it takes about 5 days for your ears to unblock. Regards, Florence"
09/02/2012: Kay from Destin, Fl replies: "How to resolve ear equalization problems while flying, (which can prevent ear damage/permanent hearing loss):
Note: This was written with children in mind, but applies to adults as well.
*Give babies/kids the appropriate dose of Benedryl (or other decongestant) 20 minutes before takeoff/landing, to prevent ear/sinus squeeze, and to quiet them, especially if they are congested, anxious/cranky.
*Before take-off/landings make "Angel Cups" for babies/kids ears: bring with you or ask the filght attendant for 2 Styrofoam cups (2 for each kid) with a moist steaming paper towel stuffed deeply and snugly in the very bottom of the cup. Have child put cups over their ears, and listen for angels during ascent/descent (parent hold cups for babies). The heat inside the cup will soften/moisturizes the eardrum and make it more flexible so it can expand/contract with altitude changes, so the child feels no discomfort/pain! Kids listening intently and watching out for angles provides both distraction and entertainment, lessening everyone's anxiety. Fortunately, Angels do whisper inside the cups (like ocean waves in seashells) aided by plane noises. If the angles aren't whispewring loud enough, the parent can lightly tickle the cup from behind.
* Parent must also be vigilant and teach children to equalize ear pressure themselves as soon as any ear discomfort is felt, and not to procrastinate until it becomes painful:
Methods for kids and adults:
1) hold the tongue on the roof of the mouth, and swallow repeatedly until ears pops
2) pull earlobes out and up, meanwhile open/close mouth repeatedly, keep swallowing until the ears pop.
3) Older kids only: hold nose, SLOWLY & GENTLY blow until ears expand or pop
4) Younger kids; suck hard candy, preferably cough drops (ideally medicated, or with menthol, eucalyptus, lemon, mint, that force more mouth/salivary action).
5) Infants: suck pacifiers or bottles low-on-contents, ideally warmed.
6) Other aids: chew gum, drink hot drinks, suck on a lemon slice, bring pocket warmers to place on ears/throat (Eustachian tube),
10/12/2012: White Feather from Hampton, Ga replies: "While flying (especially landing) I always had to chew gum and keep swallowing to keep from having paid for days afterward. Sometimes nothing I could do was enough. Then one day, waiting for my flight, I found Ear-Planes. They are little earplugs that keep making a little "swush" sound when the pressure is released equalizing the pressure inside the ear with that inside the plane. They worked for two flights both ways before they needed replacing. I never had any pain or after affects of blocked hearing again. Well worth the few bucks."
05/25/2014: Mama to Many from Tennessee, US: "Hi Dave,
I think my eardrum may have ruptured yesterday. Generally "they" say not to put anything in your ear if you have a rupture, though I know sometimes doctors prescribe antibiotics (orally and aurally! ) to prevent infection after rupture. I was thinking about using CS in my ear to prevent infection and am wondering if that is what you would do in a similar situation.
Before suspecting a rupture, I had already put hydrogen peroxide in my ear today, when I finally realized that the intense ear pain I had yesterday was likely a rupture. (I could feel the peroxide going into my throat and also had some fresh blood, a very small amount, come out of the ear. It also bubbled very intensely and got hot quickly. It was not like normal when I put peroxide in my ear. So, now I suspect a rupture.)
Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts.
~Mama to Many~"
05/26/2014: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "To Mama,
Re .... ruptured ear drum;
Oh no. Must be awfully painful!
My first question is this; was the cause of the "tear" in the tympanic membrane caused by an infection. The medical literature says that is a common cause of rupture. You'd likely know if that were the case because you'd have experienced some prior pain and itching prior to the time of rupture ... as the pressure builds from the middle ear against the membrane. (See WebMD's explanation of causes for perforation.)
Assuming an infection (so many of the Med sites reference infection as a possible cause...others we know ... loud noises close to head; pressure changes as from such as mountain extremes and scuba diving)...assuming an infection from the middle ear, this would explain what you are finding in your throat coming from the Eustachian tube. So if you believe the cause (eliminating the others) is the likely cause, then already we know we have to deal with the infection...it is THERE now.
Approach it from the back door, so to speak...from where more infection will feed the middle ear infection. In fact an infection FROM the Eustachian may have caused the whole thing to start with. So if me, I'd irrigate at least three times from the sinus cavity letting the CS drain back into the sinus cavity a lot. (If you find a stinging in the sinus cavity...you KNOW you have an infection. So irrigation is important with the silver to kill an existing infection. Now the next question is...Do I irrigate from the ear itself? I'd likely irrigate using a dropper and not a syringe so that no more tear in the membrane would take place. The normal protocol is to keep the ear canal dry. So I might try three drops of CS into the canal then after a minute gently dry out with cotton swab.
But the key, I think, is to attack the infection (if that was the cause) from the sinus cavity. If the hydrogen peroxide (which came from the other direction) didn't kill the infection, then the tear can heal without being attacked further by the virus/fungus."
05/26/2014: Om from Hope, Bc. Canada replies: "Mama to Many from Tennessee ---- Good to hear from you again but very sorry about your ear problem. I sincerely hope Dave can help you and pray all be well. Love, Om"
[YEA] 05/19/2014: David from Central, Sc, Usa: "I have had an itchy ear for a few months...its one of those deep intense itches where you could find yourself scratching it extremely hard for minutes on end. I had tried h202 and turpentine mixed with castor oil, both with limited, temporary relief. Decided to try some DMSO today. Eureka! The itch appears to have disappeared. I used a 70% blend with 30% distilled h20. Soaked a q-tip and rubbed the inside all the way down the canal. I don't know why I didn't think of this before! So please list DMSO as a viable solution, and thanks Diedre for all you do."
07/12/2012: Taylor from Los Angeles, Ca: "Has anyone cured their Eustachian Tube Dysfunction? Putting drops in ears will not get to your eustachian tube because your eardrum will block it. Rx nasal sprays can help but they have given me the worst side effects. Are there natural nasal sprays that have opened up your eustachian tubes? Thank you in advance for any help or opinions."Replies
07/21/2012: Florence from Auckland, New Zealand replies: "I am suffering with this too, I go almost deaf, with all sorts of noises in my ear, it is far worse when it rains. Look up "earpopper" on the internet. This helps me a lot, you can buy one for $170us. You put it into your nostril, blocking the other one with your finger, and it puffs air in, which you swallow and it is pushed into the eustachian tube and it "pops", hope this helps you. Florence, New Zealand."
04/27/2014: Alex from Chicago, IL replies: "I recently had a head cold in which my Eustachian tube was completely clogged. This probably happened due to so much sinus congestion. I tried many remedies, but the one that fixed it was breathing steam from hot water with ACV. Put a towel over your head and inhale over the hot water. The trick is to inhale through your nose very slowly so that you don't close off the opening to the Eustachian tube. This really helped me out quite a bit. I hope it can help you too."
Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Issues
For blocked or infected ears, lay a towel down on your bed or carpet. Then drip a bit of 3% hydrogen peroxide into one ear. After a few moments you will hear fizzing. Wait until the fizzing stops -- 10 to 15 minutes, occasionally adding more hydrogen peroxide. Shake remaining liquid from your ear onto the towel and repeat on the other ear.
[YEA] 11/01/2012: Revhemp from Liverpool, Merseyside, England: "So far my ear has improved using Hydrogen Peroxide, but its been slow! It all began when I visited the doctor(not my usual Dr as he was off - ill! ) due to build up of wax, and I knew I needed my ears syringing. However the doctor said I had an ear infection and required antibiotics, and that my ears were in fact clear of wax!
After a week I returned to see my regular Dr, and he told me I did need my ears syringing! He was shocked when I told him about the previous Dr! So after a week off I went to have my ears syringed, something I have had done many times before without any problems. Alas, this time I ended up getting an ear infection in the left ear!
The skin on my outer ear was peeling off and really sore - inside the ear was so itchy, and my ear was(still is)weeping. One evening the pain was that bad I saw an out of hours Dr, who prescribed me with more antibiotics(the pain was in my ear, side of my face and was also giving me headaches, plus I had pain in my teeth! ).
Yesterday I returned to see my regular Dr and he checked my ear, and gave me more antibiotics!!! When the ear first began troubling me I couldn't get a cotton bud down the channel, now I can make it part of the way, like I say its a slow healing process. I am now thinking is it more than an ear infection? I have a small polyp in my left nostril, and I am thinking could this be the beginning of an ear polyp? After the first Dr said it was an ear infection not too much wax, then the second Dr said it was wax and I needed my ears syringing I do not have any confidence in either of their diagnosis!
I will persist with the Hydrogen Peroxide but am thinking about giving the juice of an onion a trial run! I would appreciate any thoughts on what may be the problem with my ear, and if their are any other remedies.
[YEA] 02/27/2013: Jeff from Scottsdale, Az replies: "I have used peroxide before too and it works well, however when I talked to my ENT doctor, he said not to use that because it is too harsh on the eardrum.
He recommended using mineral oil instead. A couple of drops in each each daily until the ear naturally clears up. I have used this method since and it works well."
10/11/2012: Fentriss from Atlanta, Georgia: "I am so excited! I was patient and it actually worked! I am no stranger to home remedies, but I just was not getting results flushing my right ear. I am a professional voice over artist. It's cool to hear out of one ear, but better if you can use two.
Over the Columbus Day Weekend my right ear stopped up, just like my left had the previous week. I cleaned the left ear with a Q-Tip, dumped a little peroxide in it, and it went right back to normal.
For some reason, my right ear was not as responsive. The blockage caused at least a 40% reduction in my hearing. You can't really assess how well you are reading copy with one ear.
This is the first time in my life that my hearing actually was tied to my way of life. So, instead of keeping peroxide in my ear for a minute or two, I did what earth clinic suggested, and after three applications or 10 to 15 minutes, BAM, my hearing was back!
Thank you so much. This site is officially in my health folder bookmarks!"Replies
10/12/2012: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Fentriss, could you specify what you did please? You say "after 3 applications", applications of what? How? How much? Thank you."
[YEA] 03/10/2013: Dr Scott from Brisbane, Qld: "1. For infected ears rather than putting acids or alcohols into the already inflammed stinging chronic ear, try Manuka honey. Doesn't sting, i'ts active again all the harmful organisms in the ear (including Pseudomonas), and is safe if the ear drum is ruptured. It soothes inflammed skin and may helps draw material out of eardrums like a poultice. There are no bacterial resistence issues either. Also helps to deodorize stinky ears as well. Only downside is it can be a bit messy to apply and when it dries but can remove with wet cloth. Just Instill a few mls with a syringe and massage in -its easier when warm. Works wonderfully and very economical and I use this in my Vet practice.
2. For those waxy or itchy allergic ears water based products like vinegar doesnt remove wax very well, try either warm olive oil or very dilute orange oil mixed with a little oatmeal. Good luck"
[YEA] 09/07/2012: Seeking The Nature Faery from Mackay, Australia: "Juice an Onion, don't worry if you don't get much out of it as you only need a couple of drops. I have a syringe. Place a couple of drops in the infected ear. It may feel a little warm as Onion has a natural warmth. Do this as soon as the pain is noticed and just before bed. If pain continues next day seek the help of a Doctor. I have never had to use more than 2 doses to clear up any ear infection. But of course I have never left an infection to go rampant. I have 6 kids and never used antibiotics for ear infection as I have used Onions- The Natural Antibiotic."
[YEA] 06/07/2014: Damo from Brisbane, Australia: "Just wanted to add a comment that oregano oil completely cured my ear infection without the need for putting anything in the ear canal.
I had a perforated eardrum which was starting to heal, however I managed to pick up an infection in the inner ear area. My jaw became very painful, could barely chew and was on soft food only.
A long time fan of earthclinic, I looked through the comments and decided that since having a perforated eardrum, I shouldn't put anything in the ear canal itself. What I did do was use oregano oil both under the tongue and externally on the ear.
3 times a day I placed 5 drops under my tongue, and 2-3 drops on my hand then rubbed that onto my ear, behind the lobe and covered as much of it as possible. I also applied a couple of drops to the skin outside of my jaw hinge, giving it a massage at the same time to encourage blood flow.
Results: I was slightly worse off the first morning, however it was all improvements after that. Roughly 20% improvement a day. Now on day 6 and things are 95% back to normal. Amazing.
Warnings: It should be noted that I used a brand of oregano oil that is cut with olive oil. Straight oregano oil is too strong to use on it's own under the tongue or externally. Also, this may or may not be relevant depending on your work place, but it smells pretty intense when you first apply it! I ended up having to skip the lunchtime external application on work days, so just 2x day, however still took it under the tongue 3x day.
Earthclinic has helped me out many times over the years and this is the first time I've felt compelled to provide my own feedback (as there wasn't much on there for this ailment). So grateful for everyone that has taken the time to share their knowledge, and to the sites owners for putting it all together. May it long continue."
01/18/2012: Suzieg13 from Poplar Grove, Il, Usa: "I have 2 friends state their doctors have told them they have calcium deposits on the small bones in their ears. It caused some loss of hearing in one friend, and the other some dizziness. The doctors told my friends that it is just part of the aging process and to get used to it. Each friend has sought a second opinion with the same results. Looking on the internet the medical term I believe is otosclerosis. Does anyone have information or remedies to get rid of the calcium deposits and help with this type of disorder."Replies
01/27/2012: Sunnyapril from Santa Fe, Nm replies: "To Susieg13 from Poplar Grove, Il. I've had that same problem with my hearing for many years and I've had 2 surgeries on my right ear. The first one back around 1986 didn't work, but I still had my right ear with good hearing in it. But back in 2001 my hearing had gotten so bad that all my friends said I had to get hearing aids and thank goodness that I can hear with these. I did have a bad experience with the ear that had had the first surgery on it, the stapese that the doctor put in actually fell into my ear drum and the second surgery that was performed had to remove it and implant it back where it was supposed to be, but my hearing still wasn't strong enough to not wear my hearing aids.
I thank the Lord everyday for my hearing aids. I hope this helps and I wish your friends could fine a solution without surgery, but there are so many new things happening with that and it's possible that they could clean your stapese and then reinsert it. Also the new hearing aids are wonderful. They are digital and have a great sound. Good luck."
04/27/2012: Amber from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada replies: "I have otosclerosis, and I have done a lot of research on it. I am determined to have my body heal itself naturally. I have not gained full hearing yet as I am still working on it. I have had otoscerosis for 11 years now and I am nearly deaf in one ear and 1/2 deaf in the other. I have learned some valuable answers to this question.
First, eating a raw diet would be an excellent idea. This is because the person with otoscleosis would be getting the best nutrition possible. Also eating raw food takes up less valuable energy that can be used for healing. Get lots of rest, that is when the body does its healing. Stay away from caffine because it leaches out valuable calcium and magnesium. Lay off of salt, this will help with the ringing in the ears go away. Also no processed sugars. Take vitamin D, K, Calcium Magnesium for sure. With eating a raw diet the rest vitamins and minerals will be easily obtained. With this alone I have experienced some hearing return.
I understand that with otosclerosis it is a mineral defeciency of magnesium and there for calcium is being deposited on the stapes bone. This would be similar to a bone spur, kidney stone, and atherosclerosis. Does the person have any of those symptoms or how about achey joints, anxiety (panic attacks), or brittle or ridged nails. These are all symptoms of magnesium defeciency. I can say I have suffered from achey joints, anxiety and ridged nails.
It is said by doctors that pregnancy can set it off. That makes some sense because when a woman is pregnant she needs even more nutrition for her baby. This makes it even harder to obtain the right amounts of vitamins and minerals and a multi-vitamin isn't going to be enough. This puts her at greater risk of developing defeciencies which will cause her otosclerosis to become set off or even worsen. This is why we need to lay off of bad foods, and eat good nutritious raw fruits and tons of raw vegetables.
Another helpful thing to do would be to get all mercury amalgams removed, I have not done this yet because it would be very expensive for me.
I would also suggest going to see a chiropractor. They would get the nerves back in line with the hearing so the ears could receive optimal messages from the brain. They would work with the neck, facial bones, and jaw. This would be a very important step. This alone will be a long process.
With proper nutrition, chiropractic, rest, and sunshine, I believe the body will heal itself. The body does not get sick due to old age, but rather a build up of toxins and a long term defeciency in vitamins and minerals."
01/05/2012: Michellelorie from Kissimmee, USA: "Hello, I was wondering if anyone had any natural healing suggestions for perilymph fistual in the inner ear. My husband had been diagnosed last fall with this and experiences vertigo/shifty eye movements/pressure. He had a chance to rest in the Spring and from May to September his ear was healed and the vertigo went away. For some reason it came back the same time as the prior year end of September. We thought perhaps allergy related but allergy meds don't seem to relieve any symptoms. We are now assuming the hole is opened again. We really do not want him to get the surgery since it is not effective in all cases and may cause hearing loss. His hearing is important to him since his business is music related. Should he be taking a tissue building complex such as collagen or shark cartilage? Any suggestions are much appreciated!! "
07/12/2014: Suseeq from Sydney, Australia: "I had my ears pierced many years ago but have always had this problem whenever I wear earrings. My ears become itchy and sore after a couple of hours so I have to end up having to take them out. Doesn't matter if its cheap earrings or expensive pure gold, the outcome is still the same. Is there a solution that some one knows of? Thank you"Replies
07/12/2014: Kt from Usa replies: "You could also try painting the posts or wires with clear fingernail polish then, when dry, dip the posts or wires and fingers in alcohol before putting them in."
07/12/2014: Tg from Al, US replies: "Maybe the earring back is not of a good metal?"
07/12/2014: Sp from Wb, Nj replies: "Hi Suseeq, you could try neosporin or another product like that. I have a little tube that I use just for my earrings. I dip the post in, then put the post in my ear. That keeps me from getting red & itchy and helps the earring glide in easier."
For ringing ears (tinnitus) check out our Tinnitus page.