Natural Treatments for Swimmer’s Ear

March 13, 2019
Swimmer's ear can be extremely painful. It is an infection that occurs when fluid builds up in the inner ear and is accompanied by inflammation.

Swimmer’s ear or “otitis externa” is an infection that occurs when fluid builds up in the inner ear and is accompanied by inflammation.

Depending on how severe it is and the area where it develops it could be external, middle, middle with effusion, or an acute or chronic infection.

This kind of ear infection is more common among children and teens than adults. It’s also more likely to appear during allergy season or when you have a cold or the flu.

However, these aren’t the only things that can influence the development of swimmer’s ear, and there are other risk factors that are worth remembering.

In today’s article we’re referring specifically to the external and middle infection types, which are the easiest to treat using natural remedies. In the more severe cases we mentioned medical attention is usually necessary.

What causes swimmer’s ear

Swimming in dirty or polluted water is one of the more common causes of the external type of ear infection. Bacteria found in such places can easily reach the ear and cause disease. In very rare cases, it can also be caused by a fungus.

Bacteria that accompany common respiratory diseases can also be transported to the ear canal to cause infection and inflammation.

Some allergies cause your eustachian tubes, the channels that connect your middle ear and throat, to become inflamed.

Other possible triggers include:

  • Scratching the outer or inner ear
  • The introduction of a foreign object into the ear
  • Swabbing or scrubbing the ear canal to remove wax

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How do you know if you have swimmer’s ear?

swimmer's ear
Symptoms of an ear infection can vary from person to person depending on how serious it is. The main ones are:

  • Itching within the ear
  • A feeling of heaviness
  • Pressure on the eardrum
  • Ear pain and inflammation
  • Yellow or greenish discharge from the ears, sometimes accompanied by a bad smell
  • Partial loss of hearing
  • Fever
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vomiting
  • Blood

Natural remedies for swimmer’s ear

Medical treatments for ear infections include taking antibiotics to kill any microorganisms that caused the condition, and usually also antihistamines to help you fight any allergies.

But when the infection is just in its early stages and not too severe, some natural treatments can help you as substitutes for traditional medication. Are you interested to find out what they are?

Hydrogen peroxide

When a virus enters your middle ear it begins to replicate, causing other conditions like colds and the flu.

To ward off these microorganisms and prevent a potentially chronic disease, just use a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.

How should you use it?

  • Every 12 to 14 hours put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each infected ear.

Garlic oil

garlic swimmer's ear
Garlic is a natural antibiotic that can be used to fight a variety of viruses that cause different types of infections.

Thanks to its antibacterial properties it’s great for stopping the earaches associated with swimmer’s ear.

How should you use it?

  • Add three drops of pure garlic oil to each infected ear and keep your head horizontal so it reaches the inner ear.


Just like garlic, this vegetable is a powerful antibiotic and antiseptic that helps fight the bacteria that lead to ear infections.

How should you use it?

  • Chop a fresh onion, wrap it in a clean tissue, and place it over the affected ear for five minutes. Repeat this treatment several times a day.

Olive oil

olive oil for swimmer's ear
The healing properties of olive oil have been widely used to effectively fight ear infections.

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How should you use it?

  • Heat two tablespoons of olive oil until it reaches a comfortable temperature, and pour it into an eyedropper. Apply two to three drops in each infected ear.

Hot water

The heat has a pain relieving effect that also helps improve circulation and facilitate the elimination of infection.

How should you use it?

  • Just fill a hot water bag with water and cover it with a towel, then place it over the sore ear.

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