When you are suffering from ear pain, it does not necessarily mean that you have to visit your doctor. Most ear pains clear up after some time without any treatment but, if you are suffering from severe ear pain for a very long period of time then you should definitely consult your doctor.
Many people think that ear pains are generally suffered by children and not by the adults. Earache can affect both, for a long period of time. Ear pain is not a constant factor but can be felt at any point of time.
There are many reasons that can cause an earache. Some of the common ones include flu, cold or infection. Ear pain is accompanied by fever and temporary hearing loss sometimes.
Types of Ear Pain
Earaches in children
Many children suffer from this problem. Earache is one of the main problems due to which children feel pain in their ears. Often taking care of this type of ear pain seems very challenging. Due to the ear pain, many children become irritated and fussy.
Due to the irritation, they often rub their ears and that generally aggravate the problem. Now, we will discuss some of the symptoms that can be taken into account to identify whether your baby is suffering from an earache in particular or not. The symptoms include walking at night, clumsiness, fever and difficulty in hearing. But in many of the extreme cases, ear aches lead to hearing loss.
Temporary ear pain and sudden change in the air pressure may also cause ear pain and a mild hearing loss in people. For example, while traveling in an airplane, during arriving and while on board, most of the people suffer from a sort of painful feelings in their ears.
This is not a permanent problem and does not lead to long-lasting hearing problems. Having chewing gum can give your temporary relief in such cases.
Many times the presence of ear wax in the ear of a person can also cause pain in the ear due to the pressure. But it is very well said that you should not use any random things in order to clean your ear.
There are many people who try to clear the ear wax with the help of a cotton swab or any other object. This equipment rather than cleaning the ear helps you push the wax inside the eardrum which makes it much harder to remove. If there is an extreme problem of ear wax then you should meet with a professional ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist.
Many people also suffer from the consequence followed by a ruptured eardrum, in which a person experiences pain in the ear and a bloody fluid from the ear come out. Generally, due to the injuries caused in the neck area and head are the actual causes of this disease.
The inner and outer ear of a person is generally affected by the ruptured drum. A ruptured hearing is a very serious disease and can lead to a permanent hearing loss. But now, doctors have several options to treat such conditions.
Chronic ear pain
Many people are affected by a feeling of buzzing and ringing sensation in the ear. All this happens due to a disease called chronic pain, a condition generally associated with adults. 1 in 5 people suffers from this disease.
Sometimes a person feels pain in his ears but actually, the pain is originated somewhere else in the body as the jaw area, throat or the brain. Many of the time due to the structural changes in your teeth or jaw make you feel the pain in your ears.
Tips to prevent ear pain
If you want to avoid ear pain, then you should avoid smoking and exposure to passive smoking. All the energy triggers, such as pollen and dust can cause earaches. In case of excessive pain, it is better if one tries to avoid loud noises such as concerts, banging construction or any other environmental noise.
If a person is suffering from ear pain and cannot handle loud noises then, it would be very helpful for him to get a good pair of earplugs or noise cancellation earplugs, as that will help him to prevent the noise from damaging his ears.
Ears are one of the most sensitive sense organs and in order to protect them from any pain or disease, you should try to keep all the foreign objects away from your ears. Wet ears generally cause pain and due to this, it is advised that whenever you go for swimming, you should wear your earplugs and bathing cap.
People are also advised to dry their ears properly after showering and bathing.
Ear pain can also be caused due to an ear injury or infection. It generally causes discomfort in the middle, outer and inner ear. One of the main causes of an ear pain is an infection, such as otitis externa and otitis media. The infection in the middle ear is known as otitis media and the infection in the ear canal is known as otitis externa.
Now, let’s have a list of the different causes of an ear pain
- Ear wax build-up
- Ear infection
- A foreign object in the ear
- Changes in air pressure, for example, while flying in the plane
- Shampoo or water trapped in the ears
- Sinus infection
- Infected tooth
- Nerve pain
- Tooth ailment
- Braces on teeth
- Arthritis affecting the jaw
Symptoms of Ear pain
The symptoms of the ear pain change according to the disease. When a person is suffering from otitis external, then the symptoms such as a swelling ear, redness, discharge from the ear canal and ear tenderness can be seen in the person.
The other additional symptoms such as hearing loss, Vertigo, congestion, and dizziness, can occur in a person who is suffering from otitis media. An earache or an ear infection is very troublesome diseases for both, children and elders but it is harder for the children to bear the pain and irritation.
Rubbing of the ear is one of the main symptoms of an ear pain, which is often accompanied by a high fever with high temperature. Children can show other symptoms as well, such as loss in their appetite, coughing, running nose, sleeping problems, restlessness at night, balance problems and not hearing.
Ear Pain Home Remedies and Treatment
There are various treatments that people are advised with in order to get rid of the ear pain. The treatment generally depends on the cause of the pain. Various treatments including acetaminophen, warm compresses, narcotic pain medicine and no steroidal anti-inflammatory medication can be implemented.
Pain caused due to the disease called otitis media can be treated with oral antibiotics, whereas for the treatment of otitis externa, one must use antibiotic ear drops. These antibiotics are referred by the doctors, although it is stated that antibiotics may not be an effective treatment for ear pain at all time.
A pharmacist can recommend many ear drops for getting quick relief from the ear pain. There are various home remedies that can be used, such as olive oil as it helps in eliminating the earwax and hence, reducing the ear pain.
But ear drop or olive oil should not be used, if the ear pain is caused due to the bursting of the membrane, that is, the membrane that separates the outer part and the middle part of the ear.
You can also make use of warm flannel and apply it on the painful area for around 20 minutes, in order to get rid of the pain. But this method should be avoided if you are suspecting ear infection, as at that time the inside layer of the ear should not get wet.
Although ear pain generally goes away on its own and do not need any treatment or antibiotics. But if there are symptoms other than the ear pain such as high fever, irritation etc. then consulting the doctor is the best option as, they can tell you the main cause of this problem and provide you with the right medicine.
Sometimes it is very hard to analyze the cause of ear pain, in that case until and unless the reason of the pain is known you should not try any of the home remedies or antibiotics, as they can increase your problem.
Ear Pain FAQs
How can cleaning of earwax in an improper way cause problem in the ear?
If the ear wax accumulated in the ear is cleaned in an inappropriate way then it might lead to grave damage to the ear canal. This will cause excessive pain, swelling, eardrum perforation and hearing loss.
How can excessive earwax buildup be prevented?
It is not possible to prevent the ear wax build up completely but if you make it a practice to clean the ears frequently then the situation gets aggravated and often pain and irritation is experienced. So, always try to clean the ear at regular intervals and never so often and that will slow down the process of the wax buildup to some extent.
How long the fluid persists behind the eardrum as an ear infection subsides?
It takes at least one to three months that the fluid clears off on its own after an ear infection. There is ideally no requirement of any antibiotics for removing the fluid but it is important to have the ear checked by a medical professional in an interval of four to six weeks until the entire fluid is gone.
What is the function of ear tubes?
Ear tubes are the plastic or metal made hollow, cylindrical insertions to be implanted in the eardrum by surgical procedure and under the effect of general anesthetics. They are used for creating a kind of airway causing ventilation to the middle air and for preventing the fluid getting accumulated at the back of the eardrum.
Ear pain can be very irritating and painful but, if it is not taken care of properly then this disease can get enhanced. So, consulting the doctor and taking the right medication is very important. In the case of children, you should not wait for the pain to go away on its own as they might get irritated and rub their ears and this might increase the problem. So, immediately consult the doctor so that, they can provide you with the right medication.