Ear aches and pain are most common among young children, but they can also affect adults. The degree and type of pain will depend on the underlying cause. It may be felt in one or both ears and it may be constant or transient. In addition, it may feel dull, sharp or burning.
Ear pain may be felt on the inner, middle or outer ear, and the underlying cause can be an injury, inflammation or infection. The most common causes of ear pain include:
Most ear pain will clear up on its own without medical treatment. To encourage your pain to resolve, you may try over-the-counter eardrops or hold a warm compress over the painful ear for 20 minutes. However, if any of the following circumstances are present, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible:
In all of these cases, an ear, nose and throat physician will need to examine your ear and identify the underlying cause of your pain. If an ear infection is diagnosed, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to clear it, along with painkillers to help manage the discomfort as you heal.
Also known as otitis media, an ear infection is the most common cause of an earache. It occurs in the middle ear and often coincides with a cold or flu. Among children, the signs of an ear infection include pulling at the infected ear, difficulty sleeping, irritability and a fever. In adults, symptoms are ear pain, fluid drainage and hearing problems.
Left untreated, an ear infection can lead to serious complications. If your symptoms aren’t improving and the pain is constant or severe, contact SFENTA today to make an appointment and get the relief you need.
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