Some helpful tips for curing earache and ear pain

Don’t turn a deaf ear to earache and ear pain! If you are suffering, you need the help of a health care professional.

Although they are relatively common, especially in children, earaches and ear pain should be taken seriously. They could be caused by an infection, but they may also be caused by a fracture, the presence of a foreign body in the ear, abnormal pressure, or be a symptom of a disease. When you suffer from earache and ear pain, it is always advisable to consult a doctor immediately for a diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

In some cases, the expertise of a specialist will be required. The otolaryngologist, also known as an ENT, is a specialist in conditions of the ear, nose, and throat.

When should I consult a doctor?

If you or your child has an earache and ear pain, you should consult a health care professional in the following cases:

  • if the earache causes dizziness or a decrease in hearing ability
  • if blood or pus is draining from the ear
  • if the pain is unbearable
  • if you already have damage to the ear, such as a perforated eardrum
  • if the ear pain persists after an airplane flight or diving session
  • if you are a senior and suffer with persistent earache
  • if the pain recurs frequently
  • if your ear is still hurting after taking pain-relief medication for 48 hours

What you should know about ear infections

Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or virus, which enter through the nose or mouth. Children are most at risk because germs can spread easily in public places, such as child care centres.

There are two types of ear infections:

  • Otitis media. This usually occurs after a cold, once the bacteria have passed through the Eustachian tube. It is characterized by the presence of pus between the inner ear and the tympanic membrane. To establish the diagnosis, your doctor may perform a test called pneumatic otoscopy to verify the mobility of the eardrum. Otitis media can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Otitis externa. This occurs after an infection. Experts also call it swimmer's ear, because it often appears after consecutive swimming sessions. The water remaining in the ear canals blocks the tubes that secrete earwax, allowing bacteria to develop. For this type of ear infection, the doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drops. Healing takes about a week. Wearing silicone ear plugs for swimming usually helps prevent swimmer's ear. It is also important to dry the ear canal after bathing or swimming.

Labyrinthitis is an ailment of the inner ear. This inflammation is most often characterized by dizziness, as the inner ear is closely linked to the sense of balance. With persistent dizziness, it is important to consult an ear specialist immediately.

Does my child really have an earache and ear pain?

It is often difficult to detect earache in children and infants, but you can be alert to the following accompanying signs:

  • a tendency to rub the ears more often than usual
  • irritability
  • fever and vomiting

An infant who is irritable and rubbing his or her ear does not necessarily have an ear infection, but it is still advisable to consult a doctor for a complete ear examination.

Some helpful tips for curing earache and ear pain
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