What is Earache?
Earaches can be painful and uncomfortable and in some acute cases may lead to long-term damage to your ears. Earache can be acute or dull that may afflict one or both ears. People of all ages are prone to developing earaches; however young children are more susceptible to this irritating condition. “Otitis media” or “inflammation of the middle ear” is the leading cause of earaches in children. Otitis media can be particularly serious as it can potentially trigger hearing loss and affect learning capacity and speech development among young children.
If you or your loved ones are suffering from earache and related complications, set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!
What Causes Earaches?
There is a variety of underlying causes behind earaches. Earaches may be caused by skin problems like Eczema, injury to the ear canal, a boil or infected hair follicle, jaw pain, toothache etc. Infection of the ear canal outside the eardrum, known as “otitis externa” may also be behind an earache.
The most common cause of an earache, however, is otitis media that blocks the Eustachian tube. Pressurized puss builds up inside the ear as the ear fails to aptly drain itself. Virus and bacteria may multiply to give way to serious infection. Even if the infection subsides, the middle ear may remain filled with fluids leaving the ears vulnerable to infection recurrences. This condition is called “middle ear effusion” or “serous otitis media.”
What are the Symptoms of Earache?
Earache caused by Otitis media is characterized by following symptom in infants and toddlers:
- Ear Drainage
- Mild to severe ear pain
- Pulling or scratching at the ear
- Hearing problems
- Loss of appetite
- Fever of 100F (38 C) or above
In young children, adolescents, and adults the following conditions may accompany an earache:
- Sharp or dull earache, depending on the severity of infection
- Loss of balance
- Ear drainage
What are the Risk Factors for Earache?
The chances of suffering from an earache are exacerbated by following pre-existing conditions.
- Chronic Sinus Problems
- Chronically Infected Adenoids
- Air Pollution and Atmospheric Irritants
When Should I see a Doctor?
It is always smart to visit an experienced ENT specialist as soon as you experience something out of the ordinary with your ears. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should schedule an appointment without delay.
- Acute earache that persists for more than 24 hours
- Earache accompanied with high grade fever
- Difficulty in hearing
- Blood infused discharge coming out of your ear
How is Earache Diagnosed?
To diagnose the underlying cause of the earache, your ENT doctor will use an “otoscope” to light the inside of your ear. He/she will check for redness, swelling or fluid behind the eardrum. The doctor will also check to see if the color of the eardrum is pinkish grey and whether it moves normally. If not, the middle ear may be infected. Some other tests may also be conducted such as:
Audiogram: Tones of various pitches are presented to the ear to diagnose the presence and/or extent of hearing loss.
Tympanogram: This test is designed to measure the air pressure in the middle ear to assess the performance of Eustachian tube.
How is Earache Treated?
Depending on the cause and severity of your earache, you doctor may prescribe the following treatments:
- Antibiotics to clear up the infection
- Antihistamines to manage allergies
- Decongestants to help out with a cold and flu
- Pills and Ear drops to manage pain and fight the infection
- Long standing and recurring “acute otitis media” may require minor surgery to suction out the infected fluid.
Ensuring a healthy ear is important to your overall well being. If you or your loved ones are suffering from earache and related complications, set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!
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OTHER HELPFUL NOSE, SINUS & ALLERGY FACT SHEETS:
- A Quick Glossary for Good Ear Health
- Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease
- Better Ear Health
- The Necessity of Early Intervention in Hearing
- Middle Ear Infection (Chronic Otitis Media) and Hearing Loss
- Cochlear-Meningitis Vaccination
- Cochlear Implants
- Day Care and Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
- Ear Infection and Vaccines
- Ear Plastic Surgery
- Ears and Altitude
- Genes and Hearing Loss
- Hearing Loss
- Hyperacusis: An increased sensitivity to everyday sounds
- Infant Hearing Loss
- Children's Hearing Health
- Noise and Hearing Protection
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children
- Pediatric Obesity and Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders
- Travel Tips for the Hearing Impaired
- What You Should Know About Otosclerosis
- When Your Child Has Tinnitus
- Ear Infection and Hearing Loss