How to Treat an Ear Infection at Home

Struggling with an ear infection? You’re not alone. As many as 70% of children experience an ear infection in their lifetime. Learn how to treat an ear infection at home with helpful tips.

Quick facts: Treating An Ear Infection At Home

✅ Applying a warm compress to the affected ear can help ease pain associated with an ear infection (Mayo Clinic)
✅ Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and any swelling associated with an ear infection (Healthline)
✅ Resting is important when dealing with an ear infection (WebMD)
✅ OTC or prescription eardrops can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with an ear infection (American Academy of Pediatrics)
✅ Drinking plenty of fluids can help reduce the pressure in the ear and clear the ear canal (American Academy of Family Physicians)


Ear infections, or otitis media, are caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the middle ear. These infections can be painful and cause a feeling of fullness in the ears. Ear infections are most common in young children and can cause fever, difficulty hearing, and ear pain.

Treating an ear infection at home is possible but should be done under the guidance of a medical professional. It is important to recognize the signs of an ear infection and to seek medical help if symptoms persist or worsen. This guide will provide information on how to treat an ear infection at home including advice on over-the-counter medications and home remedies that may provide relief from symptoms.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

Ear infections can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, hearing loss, a clicking or popping noise when you move your jaw, and a feeling of pressure in the ear. In some cases, the ear may also become itchy or have a discharge. It is important to get a diagnosis from a medical professional if you think you may have an ear infection.

In the meantime, this article will discuss the common signs and symptoms to be aware of:

  • Pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Clicking or popping noise when you move your jaw
  • Feeling of pressure in the ear
  • Itchy ear
  • Discharge from the ear


Pain is often the first symptom of an ear infection. Pain in either one or both ears can indicate an infection, depending on the type or severity of the infection. A child may experience sharp and sudden pain, or a dull and chronic ache. They could also complain about fullness in the ear, itchiness, and/or dizziness. In some cases there may be a loss of hearing as well as fluid coming from the affected ear(s).

The pain associated with an ear infection can range from mild to severe so it is important to take note of any changes in your child’s discomfort levels. If it worsens over time or they become feverish, then they should be seen by a doctor right away.


An ear infection is often accompanied by a yellow, white, or greenish fluid drainage. This discharge usually has a foul odor and can indicate the presence of bacteria in the ear canal. If there is persistent drainage from the ear, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

In some cases, this could be a symptom of an infection such as otitis media (middle ear infection). Additionally, this discharge can also be a sign of wax build-up in more severe cases. If not treated properly, an ear infection can lead to hearing loss, facial paralysis, and even meningitis. Therefore it is important to take any symptoms that may indicate an infection seriously and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of an ear infection. When the Eustachian tube and middle ear are affected by a bacterial or viral infection, they can become blocked by mucus and fluid. This mucus buildup can cause temporary hearing loss or muffled hearing, which could be partial or complete. If this problem persists for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to permanent hearing damage.

Other signs to watch for include

  • ear pain
  • fever
  • headaches
  • feeling fullness in the ear
  • drainage from the ear canal

It’s important to take your child to a doctor if you think they may have an ear infection so that it can be treated promptly.

Home Remedies

Ear infections can be very painful and uncomfortable, but they can often be treated at home with some simple remedies. These natural home remedies can help alleviate the pain and reduce the risk of further complications. Here we will discuss some of the best home remedies for an ear infection and the steps you can take to treat it:

  • Ensure that you are getting enough rest.
  • Use a warm compress to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Use a few drops of warm olive oil in the ear to help reduce inflammation.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to reduce inflammation in the throat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help thin out mucus.
  • Avoid loud noises and try to keep the affected ear dry.

Warm Compress

A Warm Compress is one of the most common home remedies for treating ear infections. To make a warm compress, soak a washcloth in warm water and wring out the excess moisture. Place the warmed cloth over your ear and relax while keeping it there. The heat helps to reduce any pain associated with the infection and can also disperse drainage from within the ear.

It is important to note that once the compress begins to cool, you should discard it and repeat with a new wet cloth as it may no longer be effective against your infection. Doing this multiple times a day can help alleviate discomfort associated with an ear infection.

Saline Drops

Saline drops are one of the most common home remedies for ear infections. Saline drops involve using a small syringe to drop a saline solution into the infected ear. Saline solutions help flush out bacteria, viruses and debris located in the inner ear, while also moisturizing the ear canal. They work to soften wax build-up and reduce inflammation – both positive effects of relieving an ear infection. This method of treatment is proven effective against acute otitis media (AOM), a type of bacterial infection that affects children more than adults.

It is important to take caution with this remedy, however, as too much moisture can cause fungal growth in your ears. When administering saline drops at home, make sure to use sterile solutions and follow proper instructions for usage before trying this remedy out on yourself or loved ones.

Garlic Oil

Garlic oil is one of the most popular and effective home remedies for an ear infection. The natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of garlic can help reduce swelling, pain and discomfort associated with an ear infection.

To use garlic oil for an ear infection:

  • Slightly heat some garlic oil in a pan, allow it to cool slightly, then put it directly in the affected ear.
  • Garlic oil can also be used topically to apply on the outside of the ear canal in order to soothe any discomfort.
  • Use garlic oil no more than twice daily for best results.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Ear infections typically resolve within a few days without medical attention. However, it is important to know when it is time to seek medical help. In some cases, home remedies may not be enough and you may need to visit your doctor for antibiotics or other treatments.

Let’s explore when you should visit a doctor for an ear infection:

High Fever

High fever may be a symptom of an ear infection, and it is important for parents to be aware of these signs and take their child to the doctor if needed. A high fever is typically defined as a temperature greater than (102 °F) or 38.9 °C.

If your child has a high fever and other symptoms such as:

  • ear pain
  • drainage from the ear
  • nausea or vomiting
  • problems hearing
  • weeping from the affected ear(s)
  • behavioral changes like irritability or decreased activity levels

then it is time to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, those under 3 months of age should seek medical attention right away if they have any signs of an ear infection due to their age making them more susceptible to complications.

Severe Pain

Severe pain is usually the body’s way of signaling that something is wrong and medical attention should be sought. If your ear infection symptoms include severe pain, you should visit your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room for treatment. Severe pain can be accompanied by other serious symptoms such as dizziness, disorientation, and hearing loss. These symptoms can indicate a more serious condition that needs to be treated right away, so do not delay seeking medical attention if these are present.

Other signs that medical help may be needed are:

  • If the ear infection has lasted more than three days.
  • If the fever hasn’t subsided after 48 hours of home treatment.
  • If the earache has been present for three weeks without improvement.

Chronic Ear Infections

Chronic ear infections, also known as recurrent otitis media, occur when the middle ear becomes infected more than three times in a year or if there are at least two occurrences within six months. Symptoms of chronic ear infections may include persistent fluid drainage and diminished hearing. In some cases, hearing loss may become permanent if the infection is not treated soon enough.

Individuals with chronic ear infections should seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications such as loss of hearing. Treatment typically includes antibiotics or possibly even surgery depending on the severity of the infection. It’s important to seek prompt medical attention because chronic infections can put a person at an increased risk for serious health issues such as meningitis and facial nerve paralysis.


Treating an ear infection at home is possible in most cases. Home remedies can help reduce pain and ease symptoms. It’s important to remember that home remedies should only be used for mild or occasional infections. If the infection persists or if there is extreme pain, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

In conclusion, it is important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of an ear infection so that you can act quickly if needed. Knowing how to treat an ear infection at home with simple remedies such as warm compresses and homemade ear drops can be helpful for mild and occasional infections, however more severe infections may require medical attention.

FAQs about: Treating An Ear Infection At Home

Q: What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

A: Symptoms of an ear infection may include pain or discomfort in the ear, difficulty hearing, drainage of fluid or pus from the ear, dizziness and/or fever.

Q: How can I treat an ear infection at home?

A: To treat a sinus infection at home, you should use a warm compress on the affected ear for 20 minutes, 3 times a day. You should also take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease the discomfort. Additionally, you can use over-the-counter eardrops containing acetic acid, which can reduce inflammation.

Q: How long should I wait before seeking medical help?

A: If your symptoms do not improve or worsen within 3 days, it is important to contact your doctor for further evaluation and treatment. Additionally, if your child is younger than 6 months and has an ear infection, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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