The ear functions by receiving sound waves and sending messages to the brain. The outer ear includes the part of the ear that is visible and the ear canal. The sound waves go through the ear canal and travel to the eardrum and cause it to vibrate. The vibration of the eardrum causes the tiny bones in the ear to move. This movement sends the sound waves to the inner ear.
A narrow tube called the Eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the back of the nose and allows normal fluid drain out of the middle ear. If bacteria or viruses infect the lining of the Eustachian tube, the tube gets swollen and fills with thick mucus. This keeps fluid in the ear from draining normally. The fluid begins to buildup and bacteria can grow in the fluid, increasing pressure behind the eardrum and causing pain, stuffiness, hearing loss, and ear infection.
An earache is described as a temporary or constant sharp, dull or burning pain in one or both ears. In children ear pain is usually caused by the buildup of fluid and pressure behind the eardrum (middle ear). In adults ear pain is largely due to an ear infection
The Eustachian tubes can become blocked because of allergies, a cold or other infection due to inflammation and the buildup of secretions. This is more common in small children, because they have a shorter and more horizontal tube.
Remedies for Earaches
- Sooth the ear with the warm setting of a hairdryer or use warm damp compresses. Adversely a cold pack or cold wet wash cloth applied to the outer ear for 20 minutes may reduce pain.
- Put a few drops of garlic juice in the affected ear. Garlic has a natural antibiotic. Alternately basic leaf juice can be applied.
- If the ache is from altitude change or built up pressure, chew gum or yawn to contract the muscles and open the Eustachian tubes relieving the pain.
- Persons that suffer from “swimmer’s ear” can place mineral oil in the ear before going in the water.
- Persons that have an ear infection can intake large doses of vitamin C. At high levels, this vitamin is a natural antibiotic and antihistamine and will help to reduce any inflammation and fever.
- Natural healing advocates believe that ear aches and infections are caused fundamentally by improper diet. Foods such as meat, white bread, sugar and chemically-doctored foods should be avoided. A proper diet must include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins sources other than meat. Certain foods, more commonly dairy products like milk, butter, cheese etc tend to aggravate ear infections, so it is better to avoid them during an ear infection
- Resting in an upright position can help reduce pressure in the middle ear