Q. Will oregano oil used for clogged ears cause permanent damage?

Answered by
Dr. Vinay S Bhat
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 25, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jan 27, 2020

Hi doctor,

I had clogged ears from sinus allergy congestion and my mom put a drop of oregano oil in my ear. It hurt horribly and was throbbing and burning my ear. I got my ear flushed out with water and got antibiotic drops. Could the oregano oil into my ear have caused permanent damage? Or caused any bacterial infection? The doctor said there was no ear infection. But could the oregano oil spread or seep into my ear and cause bacterial meningitis? Is it dangerous that it went in my ear?

I am currently taking Lexapro 20 mg, antibiotic ear drops and doctor prescribed Doxycycline if it gets infected.

Dr. Vinay S Bhat

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Before I answer your query I would like to give you a brief over view of the anatomy of our ear. Our ear consists of three main parts namely outer ear, middle ear, inner ear. The outer ear is separated from middle ear by our ear drum. That means that there is our ear drum which prevents entry of anything even air from the outer to the middle ear. The middle ear is separated from the inner ear by a hard bone. So there is no question of passage of anything from the middle ear to inner ear apart from the sound.

Now coming to your query, so seek to have had eustachian tube dysfunction (eustachian tube is a tube which connects the ear to nose) secondary to the common cold and sinus inflammation. Oregano oil can be an irritant and can cause significant pain when it comes in contact with sensitive structures of the ear such as skin and ear drum. But the ear drum is very resistant and would not allow the passage of air inside the middle ear. Since the doctor has already examined your ear and ruled out any significant injury to the ear drum or any significant infections there is no need for worry. There is no possibility of any bacterial meningitis or any harm to your body due to oregano oil. Probably there is physical injury to the skin of the outer ear and will heal in a few days.

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