Drops for the Ear: When to Use Them and How to Do It

You may have used ear drops if you get water in your ears while swimming or if you had a buildup of wax in your ear canal. They can be used to relieve ear discomfort, ear wax buildup (also known as cerumen), and ear infections including swimmer’s ear. They are also available without a doctor’s prescription or over the counter (OTC). There are a number of potential causes of ear discomfort, including infections, injuries, and ill-fitting hearing aids. Ear wax usually does not result in discomfort. 

In most cases, however, discomfort or pain in the ear is caused or transferred from another area, most commonly through throat or  jaw joint. Numbing drops for the ear canal should be avoided.

However, there are a few tips you should know before you start putting drops in your ear:  
  • Put the bottle of eardrops in your palms to warm it up. If you put cold (or too warm) ear drops in your ear, you could feel lightheaded.
  • If you want to hear better, you should sleep with your ear up.
  • For a more streamlined ear canal, try gently pulling your ear back.
  • Just place the dropper over your ear and squeeze out the correct amount (typically 4 to 5 drops of antibiotics per dose).
  • Flick the tragus and give it a rub (the piece of skin that sticks out just in front of the ear canal like an open trapdoor). In order to get the drops down your ear canal, you’ll need to alternately close and open your ear canal.
  • For the next several minutes, keep lying on your side to ensure the drops reach the eardrum at the ear canal’s base.
  • The puddles will go away faster if you sit up.