Oil drops. Warmed drops of oil placed in the ear canal may provide some pain relief. The method is a more direct way to introduce a soothing warmth to a sore ear. The oil may also help to loosen hardened ear wax or other blockages to reduce the pressure and pain. Use mineral oil or olive oil, and always warm the oil because cold oil can cause more pain. Use warm water to rinse the ear, but do not attempt to remove the oil with a cotton swab because it can lead to injury. Avoid oil if there are tubes in the ears or if the cause of pain is due to an injury to the ear canal.