Ear pain is one of the common symptoms of ear infection. It is mainly seen in young children than in older adults. Ear pain is a sign of an underlying condition and is rarely of serious origin. Almost 80% of children will have a middle ear infection (acute otitis media). Injury, irritation, or infection in the ear is often the cause of ear pain. Pain that begins inside the ear is called primary otalgia, whereas in secondary otalgia, the pain usually originates outside the ear. Ear pain can arise gradually or all of a sudden. The pain is sharp, dull, or burning and is a continuous ongoing pain. Other symptoms are associated with ear pain, such as fever, temporary hearing loss, or fluid discharge. Ear pain occurs in only one ear, but sometimes it can appear in both ears. The symptoms typically represent the cause of the illness, and similarly, the treatment is offered. 

Role of homeopathy in ear pain

Ear pain can be caused due to ear infections, trauma, impacted wax in the ear, or dental issues. With a proper case history, homeopathic medicines can help manage ear pain and treat the underlying root cause of the symptom.

Six effective homeopathic medicines for ear pain

Belladonna 

Common name: Deadly nightshade

Belladonna is indicated for ear pain when there is throbbing, shooting, and stitching pain in the ears. The pain is very sudden and violent in nature, with deep-rooted causes. The ear is sensitive and hot to the touch. There is ear pain from acute infection in the middle ear or throat infection with radiating pain to the ear. Tinnitus or humming noises are present in such cases. The slightest noise or chewing worsens the ear pain. 

Chamomilla

Common name: Matricaria chamomilla

Chamomilla is effective in ear pain when the ear is very sensitive to touch along with the pain. There is stitching, pressing, or tearing, which is a type of severe pain. The ears are swollen, and there is a heated sensation as if they cannot function. There is ear pain in children and the pain radiates from the tooth to the ear. Children may be highly irritable with pain in the ear. Warm applications may offer relief in such cases.  

Plantago major 

Common name: Plantain

Plantago is used in ear pain cases when it is associated with toothache. Sharp and sudden pain is experienced, with noise being painful. People needing this medicine complain of sharp pain in their ears and decayed teeth. The sticking neuralgia ear pain goes from one ear to the other through the head. 

Pulsatilla nigricans

Common name: Windflower

Pulsatilla is used in cases of ear pain, which is associated with ear infections. The pain is usually shooting, pulsating, darting, and jerking, and it gets worse at night. Discharges are thick yellow or yellowish green in color. There may be hearing difficulty, and the ear feels stuffed and heavy. There is also a presence of humming and roaring noises in the ears. 

Mercurius solubilis 

Common name: Quicksilver

Merc. sol. is effective in managing ear pain cases of sore throat. The pain extends from the throat to the ears and is of shooting or tearing type, which gets worse at night and from warmth. Thick, yellow discharge, which may be fetid and bloody, may be noted. Boils in the external canal of the ear are present. 

Verbascum thapsus 

Common name: Mullein

Verbascum is a medicine used for ear pain, hearing difficulty, and a feeling of ear blockage. It is highly indicated for ear pain of nerve origin. Earache is part of the facial nerve and is more on the left side. Dryness and scales are present in the ear canal. 

Causative factors for ear pain

Ear infections cause primary ear pain and are typically seen in children. These pains get worse over time. Common causes of primary ear pain include:

  • Otitis externa or swimmer’s ear 

Ear infections in children while swimming, due to headphones or putting fingers or cotton swabs in the ear canal, or upper respiratory tract infections cause congestion and swelling, which damages the skin or ear canal and causes infection.  

  • Otitis media 

Middle ear infection caused by bacteria that breed in the fluid from upper respiratory infections cause congestion and swelling of Eustachian tubes. 

  • Otitis interna or labyrinthitis

Inner ear infections are sometimes caused by viruses or bacterial infections from respiratory conditions. 

  • Foreign object

Lodging of foreign objects in your child’s ear, such as food, beads, etc

  • Eustachian tube dysfunction 

It can cause pain and fullness in your ear. You may have tinnitus or popping sounds. 

  • Wax buildup

Building up of earwax, which may later start hardening, may cause ear pain.

 

Secondary ear pain is caused by underlying medical conditions that cause referred pain to the ear. Common causes of secondary ear pain include:

  • Dental problems

Decay or abscessed teeth can cause radiating pain to the ear. 

  • Tonsillitis

A painful sore throat can spread infection in the eye canal. Congestion and heaviness are caused, which may lead to ear pain. 

Less common causes of ear pain

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Signs and symptoms of ear pain

  • Ear pain
  • Impaired hearing
  • Fever
  • Sense of fullness in the ear
  • Headache
  • Fluid drainage from the ear
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Crying or irritability 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of balance

Treatment of ear pain

  • Antibiotics to manage the infection.
  • Painkillers to relieve the ear pain.
  • Wax-softening ear drops to remove the impacted wax from the ears.
  • Warm or cold compress on the painful ear.

Lifestyle modifications for ear pain

  • Avoid taking cold foods and drinks, as this may trigger ear pain and upper respiratory tract infections. 
  • Eat a low-sodium diet. Sodium causes fluid retention and can worsen symptoms in the inner ear. 
  • Use proper headgear while swimming. Dry the ears after swimming or bathing. 
  • Protect your ears when you fly in airplanes. 
  • Clean your ears with care and avoid digging into your ear canal. 
  • Warm or cold compresses may be advised to reduce ear pain. 
  • Using a humidifier or steam inhalation helps to keep you hydrated, thinning mucus and draining to relieve ear pressure or sinus infections. 
  • Changing sleeping positions helps relieve pain in cases of mucus or fluid buildup inside the ear. 

Conclusion

Ear pain or ear infections are the most common cause in children as well as adults who seek medical attention. Mild cases are often managed at home with the use of pain medications or home remedies, but symptoms getting worse is a sign of a severe condition. Homeopathic treatment helps relieve ear pain and manage the underlying cause of ear pain.

References