Alcohol for ear infection

How do I treat an earache at home?

If an earache is not severe, or if a person is waiting for medical treatment to take effect, they may wish to try home remedies to relieve pain.

Here are a series of nine effective home remedies for people experiencing ear pain:

1. Over-the-counter medication

Share on PinterestAnti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve the pain and discomfort.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) can temporarily reduce the pain of an earache. People experiencing ear pain can try:

  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin

These NSAID’s are available for purchase over the counter or online.

It is important to remember that it is not safe to give aspirin to babies and young children. This is because of the risk of a potentially life-threatening condition called Reye’s syndrome.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that parents speak to a doctor before giving over-the-counter drugs to a child under 2 years old.

These drugs can cause serious side effects in babies and young children. Note also that the dosage for children is often significantly lower than the proper dosage for adults.

2. Heat

Heat from an electric heating pad or hot pack can reduce inflammation and pain in the ear. A range of heating pads is available for purchase online.

Apply a hot pad to the ear for 20 minutes. For best results, people should touch the neck and throat with the hot pad.

The heating pad should not be unbearably hot. People should never fall asleep with a heating pad, or allow a child to use a hot pack without adult supervision.

3. Cold

A cold pack can help with the pain of an earache.

Try wrapping ice in paper towels or freezing a cold pack and then covering it with a light cloth. Hold this to the ear and the area immediately under the ear for 20 minutes.

The cold should not hurt, and parents should never apply ice directly to their children’s skin.

Some people find that heat offers greater relief than cold. For others, alternating hot and cold packs (20 minutes hot, followed by 20 minutes cold) provides the best pain relief.

4. Ear drops

Ear drops can reduce pressure in the ear caused by fluid and earwax. These are available for purchase over the counter or online.

People should read the directions carefully, and talk to a doctor before using ear drops on a child.

Ear drops are no substitute for prescription ear drops or antibiotics, so people should only use them for a few days. If symptoms return, people should see a doctor.

It is important to remember that people should not use ear drops in a child with tubes in their ears or whose eardrum has ruptured.

5. Massage

Gentle massage can help with ear pain that radiates from the jaw or teeth, or that causes a tension headache.

People can massage the tender area, as well as any surrounding muscles. For example, if the area behind the ear hurts, try massaging the muscles of the jaw and neck.

Massage may also help with the pain of an ear infection.

  • Using a downward motion, apply pressure beginning just behind the ears and down the neck.
  • Continuing to apply pressure downward, work forward to the front of the ears.

This type of massage may help drain excess fluid from the ears, and prevent the pain from getting worse.

6. Garlic

Share on PinterestEating a clove of garlic a day may help prevent ear infections.

Garlic has long been used in folk medicine to relieve pain. Some research suggests it has antimicrobial properties that can fight infection.

People should not use it as a substitute for antibiotics a doctor has recommended. Instead, consider adding garlic to an antibiotic regimen to speed up relief.

To prevent ear infections, try eating a clove of garlic each day.

Garlic ear drops may also reduce pain and prevent an infection from getting worse. Cook two or three cloves in two tablespoons of mustard or sesame seed oil until brown, then strain the mix. Then, apply a drop or two to each ear.

7. Onions

Like garlic, onions can help fight infection and reduce pain. Also like garlic, onions are not a substitute for medical attention.

Heat an onion in the microwave for a minute or two. Then, strain the liquid and apply several drops to the ear. A person may want to lie down for 10 minutes, and then allow the liquid to flow out of the ear. Repeat this as needed.

8. Sucking

Sucking can help reduce pressure in the Eustachian tubes, offering some relief.

Babies who are nursing may feel better when allowed and encouraged to nurse as frequently as possible. Adults and children can suck on hard candy or cough drops.

9. Breast milk

Breast milk has antimicrobial properties. Some research suggests that a mother’s breast milk changes based on the microbes to which a baby is exposed.

This means that breast milk is most effective in babies. However, some sources suggest that breast milk may even help adults. Infants and children should continue nursing to get the most benefits from breast milk.

In nursing babies, as well as in children and adults, topical application of breast milk may also help. Even if it doesn’t, breast milk is unlikely to cause any serious side effects.

People can try dropping a few drops of breast milk in each ear, and repeat the application every few hours as needed.

Read the article in Spanish

5 Natural Remedies for Ear Infections

Ear infections aren’t just painful — they can also take one to two weeks to fully heal, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. And taking a wait-and-see-approach — meaning, without antibiotics — is recommended for many children and adults with ear infections. This is based on guidelines published in the journal Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery in February 2016. Natural remedies can also help.

“There’s no scientific data to support home remedies , but they may be soothing, and there could be a placebo effect,” says otolaryngologist Matthew Bush, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery with University of Kentucky Health Care in Lexington.

The good news about these strategies? They won’t harm you — and they might do just the trick.

  • Ear “popping.” Close your mouth, hold your nostrils, and try to breathe out through your nose, recommends otolaryngologist Austin Rose, MD, director of the pediatric rhinology, allergy and sinus surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. You should hear or feel a small pop, similar to the pressure change sensation you feel when changing altitude, like in a plane or on a mountain. Dr. Rose explains that the ability to pop your ears is healthy — in fact, it’s “vital for scuba divers and pilots.” It shouldn’t hurt, so if it does, try again after you’ve given other strategies a chance to work.
  • A moist compress. To make a warm compress, soak a washcloth in warm water, squeeze out the excess water, fold it into a rectangle, and hold it over your ear. The warmth and moisture can help loosen congestion in your ear. You can also use cold water for a cool compress if you have a fever.
  • Steam. Similar to moist heat, steam is especially effective at clearing up congestion. Try taking a steamy shower or bath or inhaling the steam from a large bowl of water. (Put a towel over your head to make a tent as you lean over the bowl.)
  • Gargling with saltwater. Since ear pain can occasionally be related to a sore throat, gargling with warm saltwater could help ease your symptoms, Rose says. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends.
  • Vinegar and rubbing alcohol. If you have swimmer’s ear, this mixture can help reduce the pain, Dr. Bush says. Prepare a solution of half vinegar and half rubbing alcohol and use a dropper to put the liquid into your ear canal. (Just be sure you don’t have a tympanostomy tube or a hole in your eardrum and that you stop if you feel discomfort.) This mix is also useful to prevent swimmer’s ear if you use it after getting out of the pool, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Rose and Bush agree that over-the-counter pain medications can help you feel better. If you have allergies, getting away from any triggers that cause congestion, which leads to ear infections, may also provide some relief, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Though ear infections and ear pain often get better with time and care, others need more aggressive treatment. If you’ve tried all these remedies for a day or two, and you still have pain and fever, both experts agree that it’s time to call the doctor. And since ear pain can be caused by other conditions besides an ear infection, you might need your doctor’s help to determine what’s causing the ache.

“Occasionally we see serious complications with ear infections,” Rose says. He emphasizes that immediate medical care is needed if your ear pain is accompanied by facial weakness, high fever, seizure, or bloody discharge from the ear, or if the ear pain sufferer is a baby. For children, repeat ear infections also carry the risk of hearing loss and speech problems, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, so it’s important to visit a doctor if ear pain or infection recurs.

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Earaches and sore throats often occur before, during and after a bout with the common cold. The Eustachian tube runs from the back of the throat to the ear, and often becomes infected or irritated due to excess fluids. Earaches due to an infection are more common in children than adults. The throat can become sore due to excess mucus secretions in the throat as well as viral infections. A variety of home remedies may relieve symptoms. Still, if symptoms are not relieved, the sufferer should seek medical attention.

Heat

A warm, moist washcloth placed over the ear for about 20 minutes relieves pain in the ear, according to MayoClinic.com. A heating pad placed onto the ear also adds warmth. According to MotherNature.com, an old home remedy for creating heat includes warming a plate in the oven or microwave and wrapping it with a towel. The ear is then placed next to the warm plate for pain relief. Warm liquids are encouraged when suffering from a sore throat. Hot broths, ciders and teas may also soothe a sore throat and increase comfort.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin may relieve both a sore throat and earache. Children and teenagers should not take aspirin due to a risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as Reye’s syndrome. Ibuprofen should always be taken with food or a glass of milk to minimize the risk of developing gastric ulcers or internal bleeding.

Saltwater Gargle

Saltwater rinses and gargles — about 1 tsp. of salt mixed with a glass of warm water — may decrease irritation caused by a sore throat. The liquid is rinsed in the back of the throat and then spit out. The solution should not be swallowed. The treatment is only recommended for children who understand to not swallow the solution. The saltwater gargle can be repeated as often as needed to relieve discomfort.

Oils

A few drops of mineral or baby oil may relieve an earache as well as soften earwax. Cerumen, or earwax, impaction may be the cause of the earache, reports the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Oils should never be placed into the ear if a perforated eardrum is suspected. Signs of a perforated eardrum include fluids or blood draining from the ear, dizziness and severe pain.

15 effective options for treating earache

Although having an earache can be annoying, it’s not usually a sign of any serious health issue.

Home remedies using natural ingredients may provide some relief. However, there is no scientific evidence for their usefulness compared with over-the-counter medications.

In this article, we will outline fifteen simple remedies to try.

If an earache lasts for longer than 24-48 hours, it is best to see a doctor. They can check if there is an underlying problem that is causing the pain.

15 remedies for earache

Even if an earache is part of a larger issue, it is possible to reduce pain with both natural and medical methods. Here are 15 remedies for reducing earache.

1. Ice pack

Share on PinterestAn ice pack held to the ear may help to reduce potential inflammation.

Holding an ice pack or cold, damp washcloth to the ear for 20 minutes may help numb ear pain and reduce any potential inflammation that is causing it.

2. Garlic

Garlic is a natural remedy for earache that has been used for thousands of years. Allicin, a compound in garlic, is said to be helpful in fighting bacterial infections that may be causing an earache.

Eating raw garlic is said to help reduce ear pain. However, garlic may interfere with antibiotics, so it is important to speak with a doctor before taking it.

3. Heating pad

A heating pad or hot cloth held against the ear for 20 minutes may be helpful for temporary pain relief. While cold temperatures can help numb pain and reduce inflammation, a heating pad may relax the muscles and help improve blood flow.

Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies can be successful for some people, especially those that have tried natural methods. Many OTC medications shouldn’t be used by people whose eardrum has ruptured or who have had tubes surgically inserted in the past.

Some individuals may also need to check with their doctor to make sure their chosen remedy won’t interfere with any currently prescribed medications.

5. Pain relievers

Pain relievers like ibuprofen or other NSAIDS can help control pain caused by earache. These medications shouldn’t be used to mask pain, however, especially if the earache is associated with an underlying condition.

6. Sleep in an upright position

Sleeping in an upright position is often advised to help reduce the build up of pressure in the ear.

7. Chew gum

Share on PinterestChewing gum may help the ears to “pop”, especially on airplane travel.

If an earache occurs during or after plane travel or moving to higher elevations, chewing gum may help “pop” the ears and reduce pressure.

8. Distraction

One of the best methods for reducing the feeling of pain, particularly among children, is to distract the mind from the earache. Games, television, or exercise can help reduce attention on earache.

9. Chiropractic

One earache remedy is chiropractic, an alternative health approach. Chiropractic seeks to reduce pain and other health conditions by working with the muscles and bones. It is believed that earache can be caused by the misalignment of the upper neck bones. A chiropractor may be helpful for bringing these bones back “in line,” helping to reduce earache.

10. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is used in a range of ways. A couple of warmed drops in the ear per day may ease earache. However, before use in the ear, it is important to do a skin test to check for allergies. Tea tree oil should be diluted in olive oil, sweet almond oil, or another carrier oil, usually 3 to 5 drops in 1 ounce of oil.

Tea tree has antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

11. Olive oil

This method is old, but lacks any backing by scientific evidence. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that adding a couple of drops of warmed olive oil is safe and could be moderately effective.

12. Neck exercises

Sometimes, earache can be caused by tense muscles around the ear canal, exerting pressure on the area. If this is the case, some simple neck exercises might ease the discomfort.

For instance, slowly rotate the neck and head, and lift the shoulders up toward the ears; repeat throughout the day.

13. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has been used as a natural remedy for earache for a long while.

Insert 5-10 drops, then lie on your side for around 10 minutes with the painful ear facing up. Then, drain over the sink and rinse with cold water. Don’t be alarmed by the bubbles, this can help move ear wax out of the canal.

14. Ginger

Ginger is considered to have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Applying ginger juice (shredded ginger in warmed olive oil and strained), around the outer ear canal can relieve pain. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.

Do not put ginger directly into the ear.

15. Hair dryer

After a bath, set the hair dryer to a low heat and hold it a distance from the ear. Continue for no more than 5 minutes. Take care not to burn your ear.

If an earache persists for more than 24-48 hours, it is important to get medical advice.

Otitis Media (Middle Ear Infection): Management and Treatment

How is otitis media (middle ear infection) treated?

Many middle ear infections will get better on their own, while some need to be treated with an antibiotic. Your doctor will decide if your child needs to be treated with an antibiotic for an ear infection. Permanent damage to the ear or to the hearing is very rare.

Treatments include the following:

  • Observation without antibiotics: Your doctor may determine that your child has a middle ear infection but does not need to be treated with antibiotics (depending on the age of your child and how severe the infection is). Many ear infections will get better on their own without antibiotic treatment. Your doctor will tell you how long the symptoms will last.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics, prescribed by your doctor, may be needed to kill the bacteria that are causing the ear infection. Do not forget to take or give it in regular doses until the bottle is empty, even if the pain and fever are gone. Finishing the medicine will keep the ear infection from flaring up again. Follow the instructions on the prescription about proper storage and the proper dose. Use a measuring spoon for liquid antibiotics to be sure that you give the right amount. Call the doctor if fever and pain are not gone within two days of starting the antibiotics. Antibiotics may cause nausea, diarrhea, rashes, or yeast infections, and may also interact with other medications. Rarely, allergic reactions can occur. There is the potential that bacteria will, over time, develop a resistance to frequently used antibiotics. Be sure to tell your doctor about your medical history and any over-the-counter and prescription medications that you are currently taking.
  • Pain relief: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve earache or fever until the antibiotic takes effect. These medications usually control the pain within one to two hours. Earaches tend to hurt more at bedtime. Using a warm compress on the outside of the ear may also help relieve pain. (This is not recommended for infants.)
  • Restrictions: The ears do not need to be covered when going outside. Swimming is okay as long as there is no perforation (tear) in the eardrum or drainage from the ear. Air travel or a trip to the mountains is safe, although temporary pain is possible during takeoff and landing. Swallowing fluids, chewing on gum during descent, or having a child suck on a pacifier will help relieve discomfort during air travel. Children can return to school or day care as soon as the fever is gone. Ear infections are not contagious.
  • Myringotomy: If fluid remains in the ear for more than three months, your doctor may want to insert small metal or plastic tubes through the eardrum to equalize pressure between the middle and outer ear. This outpatient procedure (myringotomy) is usually performed on children and can be done under general anesthesia. The tubes will remain in from 6 to 12 months and normally fall out on their own. The outer ear will need to be kept dry and free of water until the holes have closed completely.

Share Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Get useful, helpful and relevant health + wellness information enews

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Ear Pain in Children

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) occurs when there is an infection present in the external ear canal. This can occur if the skin in the ear canal becomes irritated or scratched and then develops an infection.

Topical antibiotic drops are used in the treatment of swimmer’s ear. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to control pain.

For patients with recurrent swimmer’s ear, preventative measures include:

  • Wearing ear plugs when swimming
  • Drying the ear after swimming with hair dryer on low setting and at least 12 inches from the ear
  • Use of ear drops containing acetic acid or alcohol after swimming

Eustachian tube dysfunction

The Eustachian tube is a tube that runs from the middle ear to the nasopharynx (back of nose and top of throat). This tube helps to equalize pressure across the tympanic membrane (ear drum), protect the middle ear from infection and help clear middle ear secretions.

Symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction include ear pain, ear fullness, decreased hearing, tinnitus or popping/cracking in the ear.

Treatment involves treating the underlying cause of the Eustachian tube dysfunction:

  • Treat any underlying allergic rhinitis, rhinosinusitis, laryngopharyngeal reflux, GERD
  • Eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke

Temporomandibular joint disorders

Problems with the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull, the temporomandibular joint, can cause referred ear pain. Additional symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder can include jaw or facial pain, headache, pain with chewing or opening mouth.

Temporomandibular joint disorders are more common in children over age 10 years.

Treatment includes patient education, avoiding triggers, jaw exercises, use of an occlusion splint if grinding teeth is an issue and use of anti-inflammatory pain medications.

Other causes of ear pain

Other less common causes of ear pain include trauma to the ear or ear canal, foreign body in the ear canal, or wax build-up.

Other illnesses that can cause referred ear pain include teething, parotitis, sinusitis, pharyngeal infections, lymphadenopathy / lymphadenitis and cervical spine injury.

When should you seek help for ear pain?

Call your physician or seek medical care if:

  • Ear pain is worsening, persistent or not controlled with supportive care measures
  • There is blood or pus draining from the ear canal
  • The area around the ear starts to swell or become red
  • Your child gets a new or higher fever

Caring for Ear Pain

Ear pain may be worse when lying down; so try to have child sit or sleep with head elevated.

Warm compresses may help ease ear discomfort. (However, take care not to burn the skin).

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to help discomfort; following instructions on label or given by physician.

Do NOT give aspirin to any person under age 18 years. It has been linked to developing Reye syndrome, an illness that causes swelling in the brain and liver.

Do not insert anything into the ear (including Q-tips). It is ok to clean the outside of the ear with a warm washcloth.

Written/reviewed by Lauren Reed, MD

Updated March 2017

Most earaches can be treated at home. Not all earaches are caused by infections. If your ear hurts when you chew, it could be caused by something in your jaw. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) pain can mimic an earache. See a dentist if you think that you may have TMJ pain.

Swimming, bathing, allergies or even cleaning your ear with Q-tips can lead to discomfort, bacterial growth and infection in the ear. Earaches can also be triggered cold, wind, differences in presser, or by hair and other objects that get stuck in the ear.

Excessive earwax can also cause hearing problems and aches. Put a capful of hydrogen peroxide in each ear, let it set for a minute or two, and then let it drain out. One drop of alcohol after bathing can also prevent excessive earwax.

If wind bothers your aching ears, wear a scarf when you’re outside, or stuff with cotton, but avoid pushing it deep down from where you cannot retrieve it with your fingers.

If your ears hurt when the pressure changes, especially during descent and landing during an airplane flight, chew gum or suck on candy. The chewing or sucking will activate the muscles that send air to your inner ears, when you hear your ears “pop,” you’ll feel better. If chewing doesn’t work, close your mouth, relax your cheek muscles, hold your nose and blow one nostril at a time gently until you feel relief.

The microbes that cause earaches usually show up first as a respiratory infection in your nose or throat. All it takes is a little push: You blow your nose, you lie down and the viruses or bacteria move into your Eustachian tubes. These are tiny channels that connect your nasal passages to your inner ears. From there, it’s a short trip to the middle ear and your eardrum, which is laced with sensitive nerve endings. The infection creates pus, which creates pressure against your eardrum, causing pain. It can even make the eardrum burst.

Children get more earaches because they have more respiratory infections and because their Eustachian tubes are immature and unable to handle even a small infection. Children in daycare get more ear infections. The fall and winter months have the highest incidence. Children exposed to secondary cigarette smoke get more ear infections. Children who have a nighttime bottle in the crib or depend on a pacifier tend to have more ear infections. Children who are breast fed for at least six months get fewer ear infections than bottle-fed babies.

Tips to take the ache out of your ear. Get plenty of rest with your head elevated. Avoid scuba diving, coughing, sneezing, bending and attempts to equalize the ears.

Use warm oil. A few drops of olive or mineral oil can provide temporary relief. Put some in a glass and warm it up in hot tap water for a few minutes like a baby’s bottle. Test the oil first (it should be about body temperature) and apply it with an ear dropper. Make sure to use only enough to coat the inner lining of the ear. If you don’t have an ear dropper, use a drinking straw. Put the end of the straw in the oil and trap it by putting your finger over the exposed end. Do not use oil as drops in your ear if you suspect or have been told you have a ruptured ear drum.

Apply heat. The greatest pain reliever is the presence of warm, moist heat around the ache. A warm compress – such as a towel rung out in hot water and pressed against the ear, brings immediate relief. There are two approaches for using heat to help relieve the pain of an earache. A hot water bottle, a warmed up oven-safe plate, a heating pad on low, or a warmed gel pack relieve pain when placed on top of the sore ear. Be sure that these are only warm, not hot, and are wrapped in a towel. Do NOT lay a person’s head on heat if he is unable to move his head by himself or if he is asleep, like a child or invalid. Or you can turn a hair dryer on the lowest warm setting and direct the warm air down the ear canal, holding the dryer 6 to 12 inches from your ear. Do not use the hair dryer for more than three to five minutes. After you take a shower or bath; blow dry your ears with the warm setting of a hair dryer instead of rubbing them.

Prop yourself up. You’re better off sitting up in bed than lying flat on your back. Sitting up actually allows blood to drain away from the head so there’s less congestion in the Eustachian tube. That’s why babies with earaches will quit crying when you pick them up and start crying again when you lay them down. It’s not that they want to be held; it’s just that they feel better with their heads up.

Fill up on fluids. Drinking lots of water and juice not only helps soothe the symptoms, but repeated swallowing can also help clear your Eustachian tubes, Chewing and yawning are also good for clearing your Eustachian tubes.

Try a vasoconstrictor. Over-the-counter nasal sprays like Neo-Synephrine contain the ingredient phenylephrine, which helps return your Eustachian tube to normal functioning. The spray shrinks the lining of the nose and hopefully the region around the entrance of the Eustachian tube, allowing the tube to function better. If the Eustachian tube returns to normal, you’ll feel better. Don’t use phenylephrine-containing nose drops for more than a few days, and make sure you don’t exceed the daily dosage recommended on the label. Overuse of nasal sprays can actually make the problem worse.

Take painkiller. Another possible temporary remedy for ear pain is an over-the-counter analgesic like Advil or Tylenol, Pseudoephedrine (the active ingredient in OTC medications such as Sudafed) 30 mg tablets, one every six hours for two to three days, may ease ear pressure. (People with a history of high blood pressure should avoid this product.) The analgesic doesn’t kill the organisms, it just controls the pain. So don’t think because your ear doesn’t hurt anymore, you are cured. Your doctor may recommend neomycin, polymyxin B or hydrocortisone drops in the ear canal.

Antibiotics may be recommended. Home remedies include puncturing a piece of garlic and pouring the juice in the ear. Garlic is used by some as a natural antibiotic. Natural healers often recommend taking Goldenseal and Echinacea.

Ask your doctor about antibiotics. Because a bacterial infection is one of the common causes of earache, some doctors recommend taking antibiotics like Amoxil and Ceclor to beat the bug. Most ear infections will heal by themselves and don’t require antibiotics. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics because antibiotics are being over used. Just consider the name antibiotic. It means “anti” or against life (“bio”). Unfortunately, antibiotics kill off much more than just the offending “bad guys.” Too many of the “good guys” die too. Take probiotics after you are finished with a prescription of antibiotics. Do not tell the doctor that you or your child has an ear infection and insist on receiving antibiotics. The only way to diagnose the infection is by pneumatic otoscopy – this is the little bulb syringe attached to the otoscope that puffs air against the eardrum to check for mobility (the normal in-and-out movement of the eardrum). A doctor will look for abnormal color, opacity, and bulging (shape) of the eardrum. Middle ear infections are typically “bulging” and have a distinct red or yellow color, instead of shiny white.

Loud noises can cause pain. If you will be at a loud event like a car race or concert, wear earplugs.

Mimi Barre is the owner of International Day Spa, 325 Cajon St., Redlands. Send your skin care questions to her at [email protected] She and her estheticians are available for personal consultations. 909-793-9080. Past columns of Ask Mimi are on the Web at www.INTERNATIONALdayspa.com.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *