Generally it's safer to use some kind of oil, which will drown the bug first, before it is gently washed out. This won't work as well with ticks, because they clamp themselves onto the skin.
Removing ticks - there are lots of old wives tales about using matches, solvents, &c... don't rely on them. They could easily cause the tick to vomit nasty things into your bloodstream, and there's no guarantee of actually releasing it. The same applies for squeezing the tick's body.
Your best option is to pull the tick out with (fine) tweezers, gripping at the point where it bites into the skin. It doesn't actually hurt much; I think the tick uses some method of numbing the skin, like a leech does.
Of course, if it's deep in your ear, this isn't an easy option, and you probably wouldn't want to damage the tissue inside your ear anyway. Go to see a doctor. The tick is unlikely to eat your brain in the time that it takes to get proper medical attention.
Would you know? Yes. If nothing else, you'll feel something in your ear, and your hearing might be dulled, depending on how big the tick is, and how small the crevice it gets into. You'd probably feel the bite. It's unlikely that anything really painful will happen, though; and it's unlikely that a tick will get near your ear anyway.
Most normal insect repellents will deter ticks. If you have a little DEET on exposed skin, and permethrin on clothes, you should have excellent protection against all manner of bugs.