Tips and home remedies for ear care Health

Tips and home remedies for ear care

The ears are a vital organ of the body’s auditory system. They comprise three main parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. These parts control hearing and also provide a sense of balance. Caring for the ears by regularly cleaning them is essential for optimal hearing. Improper ear care may cause problems like tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, ear barotrauma, or painful infections like acute otitis media, otitis externa, or bullous myringitis.

Tips for ear care
The following are a few easy ways to care for the ears and maintain their health:

Clean with extra care
Avoid using earbuds, bobby pins, or sharp pointed objects when cleaning the ears, as these may injure the ear canal or eardrum. Instead, place a warm washcloth on a finger and clean the area gently.

Visit a doctor to clear ear wax
Those experiencing a build-up of ear wax that interferes with hearing must visit an ear care doctor to have it removed.

Do not ignore pain
Anyone experiencing pain or itching in the ear must call their healthcare provider to determine the right course of action.

Clean pierced earlobes regularly
People with pierced ears should regularly clean their earrings and earlobes with an antiseptic to prevent infections.

Wear a helmet when biking
Always wear a helmet when biking, skiing, or participating in other activities that put the ears at risk of damage. Similarly, invest in special earplugs with filters to neutralize air pressure when visiting higher altitudes.

Stay safe from loud noises
Wear earplugs when exposed to loud noises at motorsport rallies, concerts, and nightclubs and when mowing the lawn or using power tools.

Remove headphones occasionally
When using earphones or headphones for music, remove them from time to time to give the ears rest. Do not set the volume too loud, as it may damage the eardrum.

Some treatments for underlying health conditions may also affect hearing. Speak with the doctor if specific treatment options cause hearing loss, balance problems, or ringing in the ears.

Remedies for ear problems
In some cases, home remedies may help alleviate ear pain. Some ear care remedies include:

Cold or warm compress
Alternating between applying a heating pad and a damp washcloth on the ears may help those experiencing pain. This method is safe for adults and children.

Olive oil
Although no evidence backs the benefits of olive oil for ear pain, it is a popular folk remedy. A few drops of lukewarm olive oil in the ear may help relieve discomfort. Speak with a doctor before putting anything in the ear.

Changing sleeping positions
Some sleep positions, like side sleeping, can aggravate ear pain. Experts recommend sleeping with the affected ear raised or elevating the head with extra pillows to help the ears drain quicker.

Neck exercises
Ear aches may result from pressure on the ear canal. Light neck rotation exercises can help relieve this pain.

Chewing gum
If ear pain is a result of high pressure or altitude, such as the pain that occurs on an airplane, chewing gum may help alleviate the discomfort.

Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another popular home remedy to clean stubborn ear wax or reduce ear pain. Put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear and let it sit before draining it. Clean the ear with distilled water.

Home cleaning kits
Ear care products like wax removal kits are popular for cleaning the ears at home. Depending on the kit purchased, one may either use the irrigation or manual method of ear cleaning. These kits include wax softening drops, cleaning tools, and more.

When to visit a health expert?
If pain persists, it may be time to visit a healthcare provider. One may also need to visit an expert if they:

  • Notice fluid (such as pus or blood) in the ear.
  • Develop a high fever, headache, or dizziness.
  • Have a foreign object stuck in the ear.
  • Experience swelling behind the ears that causes weakness in the facial muscles.
  • Suddenly stop experiencing severe ear pain (could be a sign of a ruptured eardrum).
  • Do not get better within 24 to 48 hours of experiencing symptoms.

The top ear care services in the country are provided by the team of ENTs at Stanford Health Care, UCLA Health, Cedars-Sinai, John Hopkins Hospital, and Mayo Clinic.