Ear pain is no joke. It can interfere with your ability to enjoy life, take care of your family, and get work done. Home remedies for ear pain abound precisely because it is so difficult to bear with ear pain. When you’re suffering and need relief as soon as possible, which home remedies for ear pain really work? We’ve looked at 10 different remedies to help you decide which ones might be a good choice for helping you achieve real relief.

Product FAQs

1. What Is a Home Remedy

2. Do Home Remedies Work?

3. Where Do Home Remedies Come From?

4. Who Do I Get a Home Remedy?

5. Why Is My Ear Hurting?

6. Is It Dangerous to Use a Home Remedy?

How We Reviewed

We took a look at 10 different home remedies for ear pain. We evaluated them based on how they work and how difficult they are put together or administer, how much they cost, and their pros and cons.

Overall Price Range of Home Remedies for Ear Pain

Most home remedies are quite inexpensive, especially when compared to doctor-prescribed medications. Among the remedies we looked at, certain oils and herbal tinctures cost the most. Apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and hydrogen peroxide are the least expensive, and you might even have them in your home already. You can expect to pay between $2 and $50 for the various remedies recommended here.

What We Reviewed

  • 1
    Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers
  • 2
    Cold & Warm Compresses
  • 3
    Olive Oil
  • 4
    Tea Tree Oil
  • 5
    Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 6
    Mullein Oil
  • 7
    Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 8
  • 9
    Herbal Antibiotics
  • 10

Comparison Table

1. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

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How Does It Work?

There are two major types of over-the-counter pain relievers. The most effective of home remedies for ear pain contain ibuprofen, a drug that works to lower inflammation. As inflammation goes down, so will swelling your ear, and then the pain in your ear may subside. As far as ease of use, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. Simply swallow the number of pills directed on the box at the intervals stated.


  • Can be dangerous if not taken according to the directions
  • Extended use can cause stomach upset
  • Not appropriate for those with an allergy to ibuprofen or similar drugs


  • Very effective at relieving pain due to swelling
  • Extremely simple use
  • Safe to use even when taking antibiotics

2.Cold & Warm Compresses

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How Does It Work?

One of the more simple home remedies for ear pain. Applying warmth or ice to the ear can help to relieve pain. Ice brings down inflammation and helps to numb pain. Heat brings the body’s own pain-relieving hormones into play. Some people see the best relief by alternating between heat and cold. The easiest compresses to use are gel packs that can be warmed in the microwave or frozen in the freezer.


  • Provides fast relief
  • Can be used as often as necessary
  • Extremely inexpensive
  • Safe for all ages and conditions


  • Pain relief only continues a short while after the compress is removed
  • Can interfere with other activities due to the need to hold the compress in place.

3. Olive Oil

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One of the oldest home remedies for ear pain is olive oil. We looked at a type mixed with garlic oil and lavender, and the combination has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that work for minor ear pain for some people. Simply add a few drops to the affected ear twice a day and use a cotton bud to plug the ear for 10 minutes while the oils go to work.


  • Time-tested, a safe remedy
  • Suitable for all ages and conditions
  • Simple to administer


  • Only effective on minor ear pain
  • Can be messy if not administered carefully
  • More time consuming than other methods
  • May be difficult to get children to lay still for so long

4. Tea Tree Oil

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How does it Work?

Tea tree oil is another old home remedy for ear pain. Tea tree oil comes from a plant that grows in Australia. The oil extracted from the leaves of the plant has been used by Aboriginal populations as an anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral for centuries. During World War I and World War II, it was widely and effectively used in battlefield medicine by Australian military forces.

Some people may have an unwanted skin reaction to tea tree oil, and it is best to dilute several drops with a quarter cup of olive oil before using. Add a few drops of the mixture to the affected ear and let it sit for a full minute before draining out.


  • Easier to use than olive oil alone
  • Proven effectiveness as an antifungal and antibacterial agent
  • A long history of use for mild-to-moderate ear pain
  • Safe for all ages and conditions


  • Can cause a skin reaction, especially if not diluted properly
  • Ineffective against more severe ear pain
  • Strong smell may be off-putting to some

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

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  • 12% Hydrogen Peroxide Food Grade
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How does it Work?

Hydrogen peroxide has not been around as long as olive oil or tea tree oil, but ever since it has been around it has been considered one of the more effective home remedies for ear pain. Hydrogen peroxide is antibacterial and very effective at removing ear wax, which can exacerbate ear pain when swelling is an issue. To use, simply soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and then put a few drops in the affected ear. Then gently irrigate the ear with lukewarm water. This will remove loosened ear wax and help provide relief.


  • Safe treatment for all ages and conditions
  • Inexpensive
  • Effective for mild-to-moderate ear pain


  • May not be effective for more severe pain
  • Requires a second step to be effective

6. Mullein Oil

No products found.

How does it Work?

Mullein, or verbascum thapsus, is an old home remedy for ear infections and for home remedies for ear pain. The oil is made by infusing olive oil with mullein flowers, and the remedy is applied by adding a few drops to the ear after it is warmed to just above room temperature. The treatment should be allowed to sit in the ear for three minutes. Mullein flowers have been used for many years in herbal remedies for coughs and to treat fungal infections.


  • Easy to use
  • Effective against both bacterial and viral infections
  • Safe for all ages and conditions


  • Only effective for infections to the outer or middle ear
  • May not be effective for severe ear pain
  • May be difficult to get children to stay still for the entire treatment

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Dynamic Health Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother | 16 Fl oz
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How does it Work?

Apple cider vinegar is one of America’s oldest home remedies, a legacy of early Colonial days when Americans drank more apple cider than they did water. Many parents highly recommend putting a few drops into the ear, leaving it for a full minute, and then letting it run out. Like hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar is good at relieving ear wax congestion that can exacerbate pain from inflammation. It is also antibacterial and antifungal and adjusts the pH balance of the ear to make it inhospitable for bacteria.


  • Safe for all ages and conditions
  • Effective in mild-to-moderate ear pain
  • Simply and inexpensive to use


  • May not be effective with more severe pain
  • Not effective against inner ear infections

8. Onions

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How does it Work?

For reasons that are not well understood, onions have long proven effective in treating ear pain. Cut an onion in half and place it over the aching ear to see relief. Alternatively, use warmed onion oil in the same way you would use the mullein treatment described above. Although the remedy has long been touted by desperate parents everywhere for home remedies for ear pain, no one knows exactly how it works. The best guess is that anti-inflammatory properties in the flavonoids in onions work to reduce inflammation and swelling.


  • Safe and effective for all ages and conditions
  • Widely recommended by parents with first-hand experience
  • Simple to administer


  • Mechanism of action is not well understood
  • May not be effective against a severe earache

9. Herbal Antibiotics

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How does it Work?

Herbal remedies have been used for millennia to treat all kinds of diseases. Until the modern era, we did not know exactly why or how these work, and in the early era of modern medicine, it was thought that all herbal remedies were simply an old wives’ tales. The more recent studies have shown that many herbs possess antibiotic qualities. Learning about the different herbal antibiotics available, how to make them, and how to administer them takes dedication and time, but the results can be well worth the effort. Check out a book on the subject to learn more about it as a means of home remedies for ear pain.


  • Can be extremely effective even against severe ear pain
  • Inexpensive and safe compared to many modern drugs


  • Time-consuming to learn and make
  • Can be dangerous if done improperly

10. Steam

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How does it Work?

Inhaling steam, particularly if herbal preparations like chamomile or lemon balm are added to it, can reduce swelling and increase airflow in a way that relieves pressure to the ear. Use a towel to create a tent over a bowl of hot water and breathe it in until obtaining relief. If preferred, used a humidifier.


  • Safe and effective for all ages and conditions
  • Gives soothing relief for mild and moderate ear pain
  • Can also be calming
  • Provides relief for nasal passageways and cough as well


  • Relief may not last long beyond the time spent steaming
  • Hot water must be regularly refreshed
  • Can be hazardous for young children without careful supervision

The Verdict

There are many home remedies for ear pain, and the best choice may be a combination of each. For adults, taking some ibuprofen while also treating the ear with tea tree oil is probably the best combination for fast and effective relief. For children, apple cider vinegar combined with onion oil may be the most effective treatment. Whatever you do, lay in a supply of home remedies for ear pain now, before you need it. You’ll be glad you did the next time someone is suffering from an ear infection.

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