It is commonly stated that remedies applied to the external canal in the treatment of acute earache are of very little use, since, owing to the fact that the canal and tympanic membrane are lined with epithelium, which is an extension inward of the skin, the absorption is so slight that remedies of this class can do but very little good. While it is true that absorption is much less and slower than is the case when remedies can be applied to a mucous membrane, I am nevertheless fully persuaded that absorption of medicaments can take place through the external surface of the tympanic membrane, and that many remedies can be exhibited in this way to the comfort of the patient. In my early experience I often used morphin and atrophin solutions in the form of drops, and various oils and other external ear drops are in universal use.
Acute earache in young children is sudden and severe
RICHARDS GL. THE USE OF GELATO-GLYCERIN BOUGIES IN THE TREATMENT OF ACUTE EARACHE IN YOUNG CHILDREN.. JAMA. 1903;XL(4):222–223. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.92490040018001e