What are Ear Infection Drops?

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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2020
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Ear infection drops are designed to clear up bacterial ear infections. They often will contain either an antibiotic to fight the infection or a numbing agent to help reduce discomfort. Holistic medications containing herbs or other natural ingredients also are sometimes used to treat ear infections.

The kind of ear infection drops prescribed by a doctor depends on several factors. These include the patient’s age, his or her medical history and an examination to assess what is causing the ear discomfort. Ear infection drops are commonly prescribed for infections of the outer ear.

A bacterial infection can be caused by water getting trapped inside the ear. After the water is trapped, bacteria can grow and lead to an infection. Allergies, a cold or the flu can also cause ear infections. This happens when the Eustachian tubes become clogged and cannot let fluid drain from the middle ear.

Some doctors will wait to see whether an ear infection will clear up on its own. This usually will happen within four days or so. In the meantime, an over-the-counter medication can be used to reduce any pain or discomfort.


During the “wait-and-see” approach, ear infection drops containing a numbing agent can be used to help reduce pain. These drops usually are not designed to cure the infection, however. Ear drops designed solely to increase comfort should be warmed slightly by placing the container in a small container of warm water. This can have a soothing effect on the ear.

Herbal ear drops also are sometimes used to ease ear pain. These ear drops often contain natural ingredients intended to jump-start the immune system and promote healing. A doctor should be consulted for advice and to ensure that a severe infection is not present.

Antibiotic ear drops are shown to better treat an ear infection when compared to oral antibiotics. Part of the reason is that the medication is being targeted exactly where it is needed. Antibiotic ear infection drops also have proved to be effective in helping to ease ear drainage.

If a middle-ear infection is present, a doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics. Antibiotics must be used with caution, however. Over time, using antibiotics too frequently can cause the bacteria to become resistant to the medication. Antibiotics also carry the risk of side effects. An antibiotic will only be effective if the infection is caused by bacteria; it cannot cure an infection caused by a virus.

In chronic cases, surgery might be performed to install small tubes that reach into the middle ear. This is done so that ear infection drops can get better access to an infection. It also prevents antibiotic resistance, because the antibiotic is not being taken orally, so it is not being carried throughout the body.



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