Ear Pain Specialist

Corpus Family Practice

As children are more prone than adults, ear pain or infections can affect anyone and it's typically caused by bacteria. In it's basic form, an ear infection is an inmmation of the middle ear, which should be seen by your provider.

Ear pain (otalgia)

What is Ear Pain?

Ear pain (otalgia) usually occurs in children, but it can also happen in adults. Ear pain can arise gradually or all of a sudden. The pain can feel dull, sharp, or burning, and can be temporary or ongoing. Usually, the pain arises in only one ear, but sometimes it can appear in both ears. The most common cause of ear pain is otitis media.

What are the causes of ear pain?

An ear infection is caused by a bacterium or virus in the middle ear. This infection often results from another illness β€” cold, flu, or allergy β€” that causes congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes a canal that connects the throat and the middle ear. When this tube is blocked, the accumulation of fluid due to blockage increases the pressure inside the ear causing the pain. Children are more likely to get ear infections than adults, in part because their eustachian tubes are smaller and straighter, which makes it harder for fluid to drain out. Their immune systems are also still developing, which makes them more susceptible to infections.

Another much less common cause is wax impaction. Our ears make and get rid of wax all the time. When the process is impaired for some reason, the gunk builds up and hardens so your ear canal gets blocked. Sometimes, it causes pain.

Although both types of DM can develop at any age, usually DM I develops during childhood or adolescence, while DM type II is more frequent in people over 40.

Symptoms of otitis media

Some common signs and symptoms are:

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Trouble hearing
How is otitis media diagnosed?

An ear infection usually can be diagnosed just based on your symptoms. However, your doctor will always do an ear exam to look inside your ear, throat, and nasal passage. It is important to do this, especially ear exam, to check if there is any perforation of the eardrum, wax impaction, etc.

Treatment of otitis media

Symptoms of ear infection often improve in a few days and infection usually resolves on its own in two weeks without any medications. In case your doctor thinks that it’s less likely that the infection will resolve on its own, an antibiotics drop might be prescribed along with some painkillers. There are many other causes of ear pain. It is very important to visit a doctor in case you have earache as even mild cases if left untreated can progress to serious conditions causing eardrum perforation, the hearing loss which in some cases can be permanent.

Never disregard medical or professional advice, or delay seeking it, because of something you read on this website or a linked website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice.

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