The ear, the organ of hearing, has two main functions. One is the sense of hearing, while the other is the sense of equilibration and of motion. Any trouble connected to the ear should, whenever possible, be treated early, due to the importance of the organ, and due to its delicacy and inaccessibility. However, there is little that one can do for unpleasant symptoms like deafness and ringing due to advancement of the disease.
Ayurveda believes most disturbance is due to vata dosha. Vata vitiation may result in damage to the auditory nerve and nerve ending which leads to hearing loss and ringing in the ear. Any impact on the vestibular nerve may result in vertigo. A vitiation in pitta can lead to infection, allergies, or autoimmune disease, inflammation in the structures of the ear and causes similar symptoms. When kapha is vitiated, it leads to obstruction of sound pathway. The types of obstruction are wax build up in the ear and fluid accumulation, which may lead to temporary hearing loss. Disturbance of kapha may lead to obstruction in auditory nerve resulting in obstruction of the flow of nerve impulses.
Earache: It is a common auditory affliction and the condition need to be treated in consultation with a physician. Earache is general cause due to inflammation in the middle ear, or due to boils, was, eczema or neuralgia affection the outer ear. Sometimes, pain in this region may also be due to decayed tooth.
The treatment varies based on the cause of the ache, but, the pain is generally removed by application of heat. In some cases, warm mustard oil may be of help. As a home remedy, sometimes, a pod of garlic is burnt in spoonful of any edible oil, allowed to cool sufficiently and then dropped into the affected ear and plugged with a piece of cotton. The pain will subside. Saline gargles are recommended twice daily.
Ringing: Ringing is a noise heard in ear without an external cause. This is also referred to as ‘Tinnitus’, and is sometimes accompanied by discharge of some part of the ear. Although this is a difficult condition to treat, if the real cause of the ringing is detected, it can be treated. For instance, ringing is also caused due to wax build-up, and the condition usually vanishes if the wax is removed.
Discharge from the ear: One of the most serious ear ailments is discharge from the external ear. The discharge may be due to eczema, boils or irritation following a plug of wax or foreign body. However, in the absence of these, it may be largely due to chronic suppuration in the middle ear through due to infection or injury of the drum. This may begin with an acute inflammation of the middle ear, arising due to cold, or due to a disease of the bone in or around the ear, or without an apparent cause in weak persons. The discharge may usually be thick and yellowish when the condition is acute, and may turn thin and watery as it improves. However, if the discharge continues without proper treatment for a long duration, it may result in deafness. Ayurveda believes that vitiation of kapha causes infection of the ear.
As for treatments, ‘Sarivadi Vati’ is a cardinal remedy. Adults are given one pill thrice a day with honey. For external application, Nirgundi, the juice of the plant is boiled with mustard oil and medicated oil is used as ear drops. Bilva is also used for external application, as the paste of the plant is boiled with mustard oil.
Laksmi vilasa-rasa is a drug of choice for treatment given internally to an adult in a dose of one pill three times a day, mixed with honey. Children are given half-a-dose of the medicine.
For inflammation in the ear, add juice of bhangra with juice of black Tulsi (basil) and few drops of the juice can be poured in the affected or both the ears for quick relief.
As a home remedy, extract juice of a teaspoon of mango leaves. Slightly warm and use as ear drops when lukewarm. Juice of neem leaves can be used as ear drops too. Another option is to take two pieces of turmeric and roast them in mustard oil Strain the oil and fill it in a clean bottle. Our a few drops of this oil into the ear or clean the inside of the help of cotton buds dipped in this oil. The pus formation may stop in a fortnight and will hearing may improve.
Ayurvedic practitioners usually treat by filling the ear with herbal oils. The patient is made to lie on his side in a practitioner’s home. A dropper is used to insert herbal oil into the ear. The oil is poured into the ear until it is full. Thereafter, the patient will have to lie to his side for 20 minutes and let it absorb. When done, turn over and drain the excess oil into a towel and the inside of the ear is wiped with a soft cloth. When warm oil is poured into the ear, the tissues surround the ear, relax and circulation improves. This is beneficial for ear infections, vertigo and prevention treatment for hearing loss.
Ayurvedic practitioners prepare different oils for individuals and conditions depending on doshic imbalance. Simple warm sesame oil or oil with herb Ashwagandha can be used as preventive measure. In case of vertigo and tinnitus, practitioners may prepare jatamansi and ashwagandha together in the oil and apply daily.
When you are facing a problem with your ear, Ayurveda recommends avoiding exposure to cold and wind, and to avoid foods that vitiate kapha like banana, curd, guava, sour fruits, and suggests that ginger, onions and garlic be taken in adequate quantities.