Taking matters into your own hands when you have an ear infection can have horrifying consequences and could lead to permanent ear damage, so we definitely don’t advise it.
Natural gurus claim that there’s a home remedy for just about anything, so we looked into some of the “natural remedies” that people have resorted to for relief from the pain and discomfort that accompany ear infections and ear disorders.
On doing some deeper research on the matter, we found that while some of the famous traditional remedies might work, others pose serious health risks. Here is the list of bizarre remedies we found:
1. Perfume to remedy smelly ears
An article we found says this lady has suffered from smelly ears for quite a while, but didn’t know that it was a medical condition that needs to be treated by a doctor. She used perfume, scented lotion and aftershave to “freshen” her ears.
This is what we say: If a person’s ear is smelling to the point where they become aware of it, the ear must be examined to rule out infection. Trying to hide the smell with perfumes could make matters worse and cause serious damage to the ear.
2. Garlic and fish oil for itchy ears
Allergies and sinus problems caused extreme itching in another woman’s middle ear. She read that boiling garlic and fish oil and using it in the ear could soothe the itching.
This is what we say: Although itchy ears can by very uncomfortable, the cause must be established before treatment can be recommended. It is always best for the patient to get advice from a doctor as there are various factors to consider when diagnosing the cause, and treatment is also not as simple as whipping up an oil and garlic recipe!
3. Ear clogged with wax
A buildup of earwax is a common issue for many, but the problem cannot always be solved with an earbud as the wax is too hard sometimes. An article we found mentions that using a hair-pin does the trick, but leaves the person with earache.
This is what we say: With regard to scratching in your ear, no foreign object should ever enter the ear canal, and that includes earbuds. It can cause damage in the ear canal which may lead to infections, or it can push the accumulated wax deeper into the ear, which can cause damage to the eardrum.
4. Castor oil or olive oil to remedy earache
Another article we found says that the person used castor oil to remedy her earache, and it worked. She got rid of pain, but was left with blocked ears.
This is what we say: Because some people have experienced relief from earache using castor oil, there is a belief that this will ease pain in the ear. But, this is not always the case. If the pain is due to a severe middle ear infection, castor oil will probably not make any difference. In fact, it might become more of a problem when the eardrum has ruptured. In some cases, the castor oil might actually make matters worse.
5. Cotton wool and salt water in ear
Another article stated that after her 10-year-old daughter’s ear started bleeding, this person dipped cotton wool in salt water and put it into the ear “to drain the blood”. She suspects that her daughter’s eardrum might have burst.
This is what we say: Cases where blood comes from the ear should always be examined by a medical doctor. The blood may be due to trauma in the ear canal itself, or due to a ruptured tympanic membrane or from the middle ear. It could also be an indication of abnormal growths or even cancers in the ear. Trying to stop the bleeding is one thing, but establishing the cause is the most important part.
What we think about natural remedies for ear problems:
Many people use home remedies in order to seek immediate relief for earache, or to save time and cost. Although some of the home remedies may ease symptoms, the difficulty is that earache can be generated from an outer ear infection or fungal ear infection. There could also be a wax probe pressing against the eardrum. This occurs in the outer canal part of the ear, but earache can also be caused by an acute middle ear infection, which occurs behind the eardrum. To complicate matters even more, earache can also be a result of referred pain due to dental problems.
The difficulty with self-treatment is that without consulting an expert, patients wont know the cause of the ear trouble, and different causes require a different treatment plan. The incorrect treatment could do more damage. It is therefore vital that patients consult an ENT specialist when experiencing any ear related difficulty; it could actually save you money in the long run.
Specialists know what the ear canal looks like inside and can assess whether there has been any damage to the eardrum. This is vital when diagnosing ear problems and prescribing treatment.