See our Ear Support Kits
The ear is divided into three parts, the external ear canal, the middle ear which consists of the eardrum and the Eustachian tube - this connects to the mouth and helps to maintain the pressure between the air inside the outside the ear - and the inner ear chamber which transmits sound waves to the brain. Most problems affect the external and middle ear.
External ear problems may be due to a reaction to certain foods, particularly dairy products. Children who have frequent ear infections should have an allergy test to determine if, and which foods are a problem. Ask your doctor to refer your child for a Skin Prick Test - it is a simple and non-expensive method of determining allergens and should be available to you on the NHS. Unfortunately many doctors do not think they are worth the bother - insist on having it done. If for whatever reason this is not possible you can have them done privately (see link above). Practitioners of Radionics and Bio-resonance can also determine allergens.
Swimming, eczema and children putting small objects into their ears are other common causes of external ear problems.
Middle ear inflammation is called otitis media and is caused by bacteria or viruses. It can occur as a result of a sore throat and tonsillitis, flu, measles, sinusitis, a cold or during teething, although it can flare up without these other problems. Babies and children are very susceptible to middle ear infections. With babies the only reliable symptoms may be a fever and inconsolable crying, with a random rubbing of the head and ears. If you are unsure visit your GP for a firm diagnosis.
It is then important to act promptly to reduce the severity of the infection. There may be a build-up of pus or catarrh in the middle ear, which presses against the eardrum and causes a lot of pain, loss of hearing and sometimes damage to the eardrum. If the pressure is too much the eardrum can rupture and although it is painful and the ear is likely to bleed, this will actually relieve the pain because it reduces the pressure. If this does happen contact your doctor or healthcare provider. With proper care a perforated eardrum should heal naturally, with no permanent hearing loss.
Antibiotics are the conventional treatment however frequent use of antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance, low levels of good bacteria in the gut and a weaker immune system. If you do use antibiotics however make sure you give a probiotic supplement for six to eight weeks afterwards to replenish levels of good bacteria in the gut.
Chronic otitis media is a recurrent inflammation of the ear, which in children is more and more common these days. The condition known as 'glue ear' can result, particularly when there as been a repeated use of antibiotics. Glue ear is a chronic condition in which catarrh in the middle ear causes some hearing loss and a tendency to repeated infections. It can mean a need for surgery where tubes or grommets are inserted. The purpose of grommets is to drain the middle ear, allowing air to enter, equalising the pressure between the middle ear and the outside and so reducing pain and restoring hearing. However they do not control bacterial or viral infections apart from helping to disperse the catarrh that can cause re-infection. The younger the child when grommets are first inserted the more likely the need for repeat surgery. Good homeopathic or radionic treatment however, and the advice and supplement recommendations given here should help avoid this.
If you know that your earache is caused by excessive or compacted wax we would suggest that you find a local practitioner who practices Hopi Ear Candling (or Thermal Auricular Therapy) - a gentle and non-invasive method to remove impurities and excess wax from the ears. It is effective for reducing: irritation, pressure and noises or ringing in ears. It is suitable for children. It is not suitable for infections or for use with grommets.
DIETARY & LIFESTYLE ADVICE:
• Breastfeed your baby for as long as you can - breastfeeding for longer reduces the risk of ear infections.
• Consider keeping your child at home during the pre-school years. There is a 50% greater chance of repeated ear infections for children who are in nursery, especially after one bout of infection. However if this is not practical then try to keep your child at home for at least a month after an acute attack to reduce the risk of it becoming a chronic problem.
• Investigate food allergies or intolerances as detailed above.
• Eliminate any allergy-causing foods from the diet. Doing this has shown to avoid the need for grommets. Rice milk is a good alternative to milk and does not cause mucous production within the body. If you do need to cut out dairy products it is important to use a calcium supplement - see Minerals and Minerals for Babies & Children.
• Avoid mucous-forming foods entirely during an infection (these are all dairy products, eggs and excessive meat or soya, sugary and fatty foods i.e. acidic foods), and consume plenty of fluids. Rice milk is a good dairy free alternative and can also be given to bottle-fed babies for just 3-4 days by which time the infection will hopefully have cleared.
NB. Rice milk should not replace infant formula milk for longer than this unless your child is over the age of one year.
• Make sure your child drinks plenty of filtered or bottled water, approximately one pint per foot of height per day. Dehydration may worsen glue ear by allowing the mucous to become thicker.
• Stop smoking, and keep your child away from smoky environments. Cigarette smoke drastically increases the likelihood of glue ear developing.
• Cranial osteopathy, Homeopathy and Radionics have shown to be effective solutions for those who are suffering recurrent ear infections and acute otitis media.
• If you are prone to ear infections cover the ears when bathing, swimming or when out in cold and windy weather.
• Wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and place the sore ear on it for comfort and pain relief.
• Try not to blow your nose when you have an ear infection, and ensure the external ear canal is kept dry when bathing or showering by placing some cotton wool in the ear.
If you, or your child, are prone to ear problems take steps to strengthen the immune system against any future infections - see Immune Support
SUPPLEMENTS TO BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM:
Much can be done to support the immune system naturally for babies, children and adults during illness
See our Ear Support KitsProbiotics
Probiotics for Babies & Children
Ear drops - at the first sign of earache try OTOSAN Natural Ear Drops. It is a natural formula based on an ancient herbalists recipe and contains additional propolis. It is the ideal solution to all ear care troubles. Cotton wool can be used to loosely plug the ear - see Aches & Pains.
Essential Oils - chamomile and lavender oils massaged into the area around the ear may help to ease the pain in the early stages. Lavender oil inhalations may also help to open the Eustachian tube and allow the catarrh to drain - see Essential Oils.
Homeopathy - the most commonly used homeopathic remedy for ear infections, particularly in children is Pulsatilla 30c - use this remedy if your child becomes very clingy, and is better for being held, if there is a yellow or green discharge from the ear, if the ear is red with a feeling of pressure, if earache occurs after a common cold, or after measles, and if there is deafness. Symptoms are often better for fresh air and cool drinks, and are worse at night. Belladonna is very useful for pain relief.
Other remedies are: Aconite 30c for sudden earache that is a result of cold wind, or being chilled, with severe pain, restlessness or fear; Apis 30c if pain is stinging and worse when swallowing; Belladonna 30c for a sudden onset with throbbing pain, spreading down the neck, with redness of the face or ear and a high temperature; Chamomilla 30c for unbearable pain, with extreme sensitivity and irritability, if the cause is swimming, or it is worse in wind; Nux Vomica 30c if there is itching and increased swallowing; Calc Carb 30c for throbbing pain in slow teethers; Calc Sulph 30c if the ear drum has burst and there is a continual thick creamy discharge of pus; Hepar Sulph 30c if there is irritability with extreme pain, a desire to cover the ears, discharge and a sensitivity to cold air; and Merc Viv 30c if the pain is worse at night, there is profuse saliva, an offensive mouth odour and possibly swollen glands. Take one dose every half an hour or an hour depending on the severity, and then three or four doses a day as required. If the symptoms match two different remedies alternate them - see Homeopathy for all these remedies. See the Homeopathic Kits for sets containing a range of different remedies.
NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping one into the lid and then directly into the mouth letting it dissolve under the tongue if possible and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.
The stronger the symptoms the stronger the potency required, so if you are unsure, if any of these remedies are not working, or you feel you need a higher potency contact a professional homeopath. If ear infections are a recurrent problem see a professional homeopath - see Complementary Health.
Ear Support Kits
Please contact us for specific advice
NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.