Peter Rothman, The Village Connect | Pain in the ears can be throbbing and commonly found in the children. However, both children as well as adults face the earache, which can be intense burning like feeling or just sharp pain. Pain in the ear can be experienced in any one or both ears and can be serious without proper care. Simple cold can cause ear pain or some infections can lead to pain in the ears, which can even lead to hearing loss.
Causes behind ear pain
There could be several reasons behind the earache, which affects people in different ways. Some of the common reasons are:
- Ear infections are the most common cause to ear pain. It can occur in outer, middle, or inner ear due one or more reasons. The bacterial or viral infections from some respiratory illness can cause infections in the inner ear called labyrinthitis. Middle ear infections can be happened from respiratory infections and due to bacteria, that build in the fluids behind eardrums also known as glue ear. Outer ear can be infected due to number of reasons like bacteria breeding on water accumulated in ear canal, swimming, scratching, headphone, cotton swab, etc.
- Throat infections like tonsillitis and colds as well as sinus infections can cause ear pain too.
- Buildup of earwax or any foreign object in ear can cause the pain.
- Change in the pressure while hiking or flying in planes can be one reason too.
- Water or shampoo in the ear
- A boil inside the ear canal or any infected hair follicle is another cause.
- Hole in the eardrum
- Infected, impacted, or any other problem on the tooth or joint pain called the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
- Eczema in the ear canal
- Trigeminal neuralgia (chronic facial nerve pain)
Symptoms of ear pain
The basic symptoms of earache caused from injury or infections are:
- Severe pain in the ear
- Temporary loss of hearing or not hearing properly
- Draining of fluid from the ear
- Children may face some other symptoms like:
-Tugging, pulling, or rubbing the ear
-Babies cry or stay irritable
-Difficulty in sleeping and restlessness
-Fever leading to high temperature
-Loss of appetite and problem of keeping balance
-Headache, coughing, and running nose
-Feeling of fullness in the ear
Diagnosis and treatment for the ear pain
Ear pain usually goes away on its own unless it is due to some serious cause. It is possible to treat the pain with home remedies or can visit the doctor for medical treatment. Using American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to control the pain in the ear. It can be used along with antibiotics but it is wise to take advice from your physician before giving to children.
Eardrops from the pharmacy can provide some relief from ear pain. Alternating hot and cold compress using damp cloth or heating pad and ice pack can provide relief from such pain. Few drops of olive oil or tea tree oil can work in many cases. Naturopathic drops made out of herbal ingredients can be used too. Applying ginger juice or oil of garlic on the outer ear too can relieve from pain.
It can be a good idea to see a doctor in severe ear pain or in high fever, swelling in the ear, blood, or pus from ear, dizziness, etc. Doctors will give antibiotics as well as eardrops to soothe the pain for ear infections. Other kinds of infections can be treated with medicines. For wax building in the ear, wax-softening eardrop is given by the doctor followed by some suction to remove them.