What are the Most Common Uses for Ear Oil?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 06 February 2020
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The most common uses for over-the-counter and prescription ear oil include treating ear infections and eczema of the outer ear. Ear oil may also be used to clean the ear or to remove an insect. Tea tree oil, sweet oil, mullein oil, and mineral oil are four of the most often used oils available without a prescription. Fluocinolone oil, another variant, is available with a prescription. Only a few drops of ear oil are generally necessary, and they tend to pose few side effects.

Tea tree oil contains antiseptic properties that may soothe ear pain. When using tea tree oil, three drops should be mixed into about 1/4 cup (59 milliliters) of water. The pure oil must not be put directly into the ear. Using a dropper, some of the ear oil and water mixture may be placed into the ear until it is filled. The liquid remains in the ear for 30-60 seconds, and is then drained. This may be repeated as needed.

Sweet oil, also known as olive oil, is used by some to relieve the pain of earaches. Warm the oil before placing a few drops into the ear canal. It is important to note that even though the pain may be relieved, the underlying cause of the earache is not being treated. Medical attention is still necessary.


Mullein ear oil is another option to treat ear pain. The ear may be massaged to distribute the oil deep into the ear canal. A cotton ball placed at the opening of the ear keeps the oil from draining out. Oil must not be used inside the ear if the ear drum is perforated.

Mineral oil, also known as baby oil, may be helpful for removing an insect that has accidentally gotten into the ear. As the ear oil is poured into an adult's ear, the earlobe should be pulled backward and upwards. The ear should be pulled backward and downwards if the patient is a child. This helps distribute the oil into the entire ear canal. The insect will float to the top of the oil and may be removed.

In cases where wax has hardened inside the ear, mineral oil may be applied once or twice a day over the course of a few days. The ear wax will soften and can easily be flushed away. This may be done at home or in a doctor's office.

Fluocinolone ear oil is a prescription corticosteroid medication used to treat chronically itchy ears or eczema of the outer ear. It relieves the redness, flakiness, and oozing associated with eczema. This drug is usually applied twice a day at the same time each day. Side effects of fluocinolone may include stinging, burning, irritation, or dryness. Serious allergic reactions are very rare.



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