Photo of doctor explaining inner ear structures to a patientThe name of the drug and the directions for use of your drops are on the label of the bottle.

You must use your medications as often as the doctor has instructed. For example, if you are instructed to put the drops in every four hours, do not wait any longer because the medicine's effect may wear off. You may use the drops sooner, if it is more convenient. 

Unless you have been specifically directed to awaken and use medication during the night, medications are intended to be used during the average of 16 hours per day. Thus, if a drop is labeled "four times a day" you should put it every four hours while awake.

Carry your medicines with you and continue to use them as you would at home. Also, be sure to bring them with you on each return visit with your doctor and ask for instructions about their future daily use before you leave.

If the bottle is getting low, call ahead and ask your doctor for a refill. You will continue to take the drops until otherwise instructed by your doctor.

It is not unusual for medications to sting or burn slightly for a few moments when they are first used. However, if after using the medication, your ear lobes become red, swollen, and itchy, you should report this to your doctor.

If possible, have someone else put the drops in for you.

Avoid getting soap or water into the ear while you are treating a draining ear. Place a piece of cotton onto the outside of the ear canal. Then cover the cotton ball with Vaseline.

How to Use Ear Drops

  • Wash your hands.
  • Shake the bottle gently.
  • Place the bottle on a solid base. Carefully remove the dropper from the bottle. Be sure the plastic part of the dropper does not touch anything.
  • Lie on your side or back with the infected ear facing upward.
  • Put the correct number of drops into your ear.
  • Wipe away drops that spill onto the skin of the ear lobe with a clean tissue.
  • Remain lying down with the infected ear upward for 5 minutes.
  • You may pump the drops in by using slight pressure on the front of the ear.
  • Put the dropper into the bottle and tighten the cap.
  • After 5 minutes, any residual drop may be wiped away or caught with a cotton ball.