Compresses. Warm or cold compresses can offer a lot of relief. The method that works best can vary, so experiment with each type to see what produces the best result. A heating pad or a wet washcloth or a rice sock warmed in the microwave can be effective. Cold compresses can include ice packs that are either store-bought or homemade with a sealed plastic bag and ice cubes. Bags of frozen peas are a lightweight option for children or anyone with an ear that is sensitive to the weight of other compresses.