Olive Oil in Ear: Safety & How to Use

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Using olive oil in ear is not the most common remedy, and is slightly controversial, but there are some conditions where it has shown to be effective.

Is it Safe to Put Olive Oil in Ear?

Generally speaking, it is safe to use olive oil in your ear canal, provided there aren’t any ruptures and your eardrum is fully intact. Olive oil should not always be administered in the case of pain in the ear unless it is directly related to earwax impaction. If the pain is due to a rupture, you should avoid the use of olive oil in the ear. In most cases, however, olive oil can be administered to soften the earwax, but it won’t cause it to dissolve or fall out. The wax must still be physically removed from the ear canal. [1]

Other than earwax impaction, olive oil can also be used to help with the symptoms of tinnitus, as well as certain ear infections, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature. When used in the ear, olive oil is typically administered in the form of warm ear drops. [2]

Olive oil bottle and a spoon of olive oil, with fresh olives and olive leaves

High-quality olive oil is intensely aromatic and fruity. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to Put Olive Oil in Your Ear?

If you are going to use olive oil in the ear, there are a few guidelines that you should follow, regardless of what condition you are trying to alleviate.

  • Most importantly, you will want to put olive oil in a small jar to which you can attach a dropper. [3]
  • Once you transfer the oil, warm up the small jar or vial in warm water for 15-20 minutes. This will increase its ability to be absorbed, and its efficacy in treating various conditions.
  • You can leave the olive oil in the ear, if it is only a few drops, as some of it will be absorbed. Experts recommend putting 4-5 drops of oil in each ear twice a day and then lay down so the oil can be absorbed for 4-5 minutes. You want to be sure to leave it in the ear for at least 3-4 minutes so that it can break up the earwax.

If you do this for a few days, all of the earwax should be broken up and flushed out of the ear. Many people who suffer from tinnitus are actually experiencing a side effect of having too much earwax, so this at-home remedy can have multiple benefits! [4]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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