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How Does Sweet Oil Help Earaches?

author image Tess Messer
Tess Messer is a physician assistant and freelance writer with a master's degree in public health. She has been writing since 1982 and has published clinical articles in The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and online. She lives with her spouse and two boys in Ashville, N.C.
How Does Sweet Oil Help Earaches?
Olive oil helps earache pain.

Earaches can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens, fungi, impacted ear wax or hearing aids. Otitis media is an inner ear or ear drum infection. Otitis externa is an ear canal infection and is also known as swimmer’s ear. Sweet oil can help the earaches caused by otitis media and otitis externa.

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Earaches can be caused by bacteria, viruses or earwax
Earaches can be caused by bacteria, viruses or earwax

According to the National Library of Medicine, mild ear infections sometimes go away on their own but the Cleveland Clinic says that antibiotics are always required to treat severe otitis. Sweet oil can be used to treat mild ear infections and infections caused by irritants or earwax.


Sweet Oil is another term for olive oil. Olive oil has been used for pharmaceutical purposes for thousands of years. Hippocrates used olive oil to treat skin injuries and other wounds. In ancient times, olive oil was also used as a base to make ointments and rubbed onto the skin and hair to make people appear healthier. Sweet oil has been used successfully to soothe ear pain for many years.


Warm olive oil drops relieves ear pain.
Warm olive oil drops relieves ear pain.

Most plant oils loose some of their health benefits because of processing. Olive oil extraction does not require heating or other nutrient draining treatment. The antioxidant and vitamins in olive oil are thought to provide added healing benefits as a result of this minimal processing, says Keith Lehman in the September 2008 “Lighthouse Patriot’s Journal."

Expert Insight

Olive oil contains antioxidants, flavonoids, amino acids, and Vitamins E and A. Skin problems that can cause otitis externa are frequently treated successfully with vitamin E or olive oil. According to, olive oil drops are an effective way to decrease ear pain. U.S. Pharmacist advises placing warm sweet oil in the ear to temporarily soothe otitis media ear pain. According to a few drops of olive oil in the ear daily can help eliminate the wax build-up that causes hearing loss and ear pain. Heat the olive oil by putting it in a container and then placing the container in hot water. Always test the temperature of the sweet oil before inserting drops in the ear.

Theories And Speculation

Pediatricians write more prescriptions for ear infections than for any other illness but most pediatricians agree that many of these prescriptions are unnecessary. Dr. D.M. Spiro in the February 2008 “Current Opinion in Pediatrics” reports that, “Evidence suggests that there is marginal benefit from antibiotics for most children diagnosed with acute otitis media." Spiro suggests that treating first with pain relievers is a more prudent approach to treating earaches. Using olive oil for ear pain is a good first step in the treatment of earaches.


Never use sweet oil in your ear if there is ear canal drainage or if the ear drum is ruptured. Consult with your health care provider if you have a fever or if your ear pain is severe. Never use warm sweet oil ear drops before first testing the temperature..

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