The most common reason for ear pain is blockage of the passageway between the middle ear and the back of the throat. This passageway is called the Eustachian tube. The middle ear is a small, air-filled cavity found behind the eardrum. Air enters the middle ear through the Eustachian tube, balancing the pressure between the middle and outer ear. The Eustachian tube also drains fluid out of the middle ear. When this tube becomes blocked, air and fluid cannot flow freely, which results in pressure in the ear, causing pain.
This can affect one or both ears, though most of the time it’s experienced in one ear. Ear aches can be caused by injury, infection, irritation of the ear, or referred pain. Referring pain is pain felt somewhere other than the infection or injured site. For example, pain in the jaw or teeth that may be felt in the ear.
Common earache symptoms in adults include ear pain, fluids draining from the ear and trouble hearing. Children tend to get ear infections more frequently than adults, and you might see some or all of these symptoms in kids:
Other common causes of ear pain:
Earaches tend to clear up on their own, but sometimes antibiotics are required. To treat earaches at home, try some of the following remedies: Apply a cold washcloth to the ear, sit upright to relieve ear pressure, use over-the-counter ear drops or pain reliever, or try chewing gum to help relieve pressure.
Please seek medication attention if you or your child have a persistently high fever, or if you have severe pain in the ear that suddenly stops, this could be a sign of the eardrum rupturing.
Continue to watch for other symptoms and make an appointment with the doctor if any of the following symptoms show up: Severe ear pain, dizziness, bad headache, swelling around the ear, drooping of the facial muscles, blood or pus draining from the ear. If it continues to get worse or does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, see your doctor.
If you have any questions or concerns about earaches or ear infections, consider booking an appointment with one of our GOeVisit practitioners to get the help you need!
GOeBlogger is a health enthusiast and avid reader living and thriving in vibrant Vancouver. When she's not nerding out at her laptop, you can find her exploring the beautiful BC coastline with her dog.
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