There are four things we tried; I will save the best for last. The first option when a child claimed to have an ear ache was to warm some olive oil and pour a little in the ear to sooth it. I would tug slightly on the ear to allow the oil to flow throughout the ear. After a few seconds I would put a paper towel over the ear and have the child turn their head so the oil could run out.
Secondly, we would pour a little peroxide in the ear and let the bubbles do their job cleaning. Finishing with the paper towel application letting the liquid flow out.
After either of these treatments, I would pour in a little rubbing alcohol to help dry out the ear.
Now, for the more painful ear ache, I would roast an onion and hold it near the ear to pull out the infection. I do not claim to understand how this works; I just know it brought several of our children from tears to a full night’s sleep.
More detail of the onion treatment: I would take a nice slice of onion (at least ¼ inch thick) put it on some tin foil and broil it in the oven until it was slightly browned. Then I would take the onion and set it on plastic wrap browned side up. So I could hold it, I would hold the wrap in a wash cloth. Carefully, because the onion is very hot, I would hold it near the sore ear, NOT touching the ear. As the onion cooled it was moved closer to the ear to get the full benefit. When the onion lost its heat the treatment was over.
I do remember one time that I had to do two rounds of onion at one sitting before the child felt relief. Otherwise, one treatment did the trick. If the child woke up in the night, I would treat the ear again, but that was my cue that it was bad enough to visit the doctor in the morning.