What Causes Earaches?
Ear pain, commonly referred to as an earache, is a common complaint and can result from infection, poor pressure adjustment within the ear or arthritis of the jaw. Other causes include ear trauma, perforated eardrum, sinus infection, excess buildup of earwax, sore throat, tooth infection, and a foreign object in the ear.
What Are the Symptoms of an Earache?
Ear pain is a pain in one or both ears that may be dull, sharp, or burning. It can be constant or intermittent, and is most common in children. Symptoms will vary depending up on the cause of the ear pain; however, symptoms may include redness, swelling, fever, fullness or pressure, itching, drainage, decreased hearing, tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears) and drainage.
If you are experiencing severe ear pain, dizziness, headache, a discharge of blood or pus from the ear, swelling, and facial muscle weakness, seek medical attention. If pain does not dissipate in 24 to 48 hours or worsens, or your symptoms continue, see a doctor. A sudden decrease in severe pain also warrants medical attention, as it may indicate a ruptured eardrum.
How Are Earaches Treated?
Since there are many causes of earaches, treatment will depend on the cause. Treating the cause should relieve ear pain in most situations.
In the meantime, there are steps you can take to treat ear pain at home. Apply a cool compress or ice pack to the outside of the ear for ten minutes at a time. Sleep and sit in an upright position to reduce ear pressure and use over-the-counter pain relievers if you have no known allergies.
To help prevent earaches, dry your ears thoroughly after bathing or swimming, avoid tobacco smoke, and reduce your exposure to allergy triggers such as pollen and dust. To dry the ears, refrain from inserting objects in your ears and try passing a blow dryer on low setting back and forth past your ears from about 12 inches away.
Still have questions or need to see a doctor? Call DeFatta ENT & Allergy at (715) 828-2368 for more information or to schedule an appointment.