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How to Use Ear Drops

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

How do I use ear drops?

Read the instructions carefully before you use ear drops. Wash your hands before and after you use the drops.

  • Warm the drops by holding the bottle in your hands for a few minutes. Ear drops may make you dizzy or cause nausea if they are too cold.
  • Gently shake the bottle.
  • Lie down or tilt your head to one side.
  • Do not touch the tip of the bottle to your ear. Germs from your ear can spread to the medicine bottle if your ear touches the tip.
  • Gently pull and hold your ear up and back.
    How to Instill Ear Drops in Adults
  • Gently squeeze the bottle to drop the correct number of drops into your ear.
  • Your healthcare provider may tell you to use a cotton ball to keep the medicine in place. Place the cotton ball gently just inside your ear. Do not push it into the canal. Use a clean cotton ball each time you use the ear drops.
  • Repeat these steps for the other ear, if needed.
  • Replace the cap on the bottle.

What else do I need to know about ear drops?

Store ear drops at room temperature and away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not use ear drops if they change color or turn cloudy. Do not use them if they have small bits floating in them.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have changes in your hearing, such as ringing in your ears.
  • Your ear itches, stings, or burns.
  • You have a rash in or around your ear.
  • You are dizzy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.