This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Unfortunately, in the majority of cases of chronic catarrh of the middle ear, little can be done to improve the hearing of the patient. About the best that can bo hoped for is to check the progress of the disease, and perhaps secure a little improvement. The first attention should be given to the throat, which will in nearly all cases be found to be the seat of chronic catarrh, though in many cases there is also nasal catarrh. For the relief of these difficulties, the treatment elsewhere recommended for them should be adopted and thoroughly employed, not for a few weeks only, but persistently for months and years.
Among the various measures for this purpose, are the post-nasal douche, steam inhalation, and gargles. The best remedy for the use of the gargle is chlorate of potash, a strong solution of which should be used two or three times a day. The usual method of employing the gargle is very ineffective, as the soft palate prevents the solution from reaching the seat of the disease. In order to be of any service, the gargle should be taken as follows: Take into the mouth about a tablespoonful of the solution, throw the head backward as far as possible, close the nostrils, and make the motions of swallowing without, however, allowing the liquid to pass into the stomach. By this means the solution may be made to pass up into the back part of the throat over the diseased surface.
Alternate hot and cold applications made to the throat and over the ears, are valuable means of aiding a cure. Electricity may also be applied to the ears with advantage in many cases. When the external canal of the ear is dry and irritable, much relief may often be given the patient by anointing it with carbolated vaseline, ten drops to the ounce, sweet oil, or almost any other unguent. Great care should be observed to avoid taking cold. In cases in which the tonsils are enlarged, which are by no means rare, they should be removed. Attention should be given to the general health, as in many instances the hearing may be greatly benefited by improvement of the condition of the stomach.