Earaches are more common in children but can occur in adults, as well. Whether the infection is in one ear or both, it can become impossible to endure.
Earaches can cause excruciating pain that could manifest itself in different ways. The pain could be a dull, sharp, or burning pain, causing children and infants to become irritable and agitated. However, adults can be just as fussy with an earache.
Earaches sometimes mean you have an ear infection
With an ear infection, symptoms like fever, pain, and temporary hearing loss may occur. Young children with ear infections tend to be fussy and irritable and may tug or rub their ears. If you have an ear infection, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics or ear drops, and, in some cases, they’ll prescribe both.
Keep taking the antibiotic medication or ear drops even if your symptoms improve. Don’t stop taking your meds when the symptoms subside. Make sure you take your entire prescription to ensure the infection will completely heal. Another common cause of earaches is the buildup of wax in your ears.
Some doctors flush out the wax using ear lavage or a suction device. Also, TMJ (the temporomandibular joint in the jaw) and sinus infections can cause earaches, but they aren’t actual ear infections.
What causes earaches?
Ear infections are the most common cause of earaches, and they can occur in the outer, middle, and inner ear.
Outer ear infection:
An outer ear infection can be caused by water in the ear from swimming, wearing hearing aids or headphones that damage the skin inside of the ear canal, or putting things too far into your ear, like cotton swabs, fingers, and other small items. With swimming, water softens the skin in the ear canal which can lead to bacteria and infections.
Middle ear infection:
A middle ear infection can be caused by infections brought on from a respiratory tract infection. Fluid builds up behind the ear drums, causing these infections.
Inner ear infection:
An inner ear infection is an infection of the innermost part of the ear. More often than not, an inner ear infection is not an infection but inflammation or irritation. Labyrinthitis is a common inner ear disorder that can be caused by viral or bacterial infections from respiratory illnesses.
What are the symptoms of an earache?
Earaches can develop from ear infections or injury. Symptoms in adults and children include:
- Ear pain
- Impaired hearing
- Fluid drainage from the ear
- Ear pain
- Muffled hearing or difficulty responding to sounds
- Sense of fullness in the ear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Crying or acting irritable more than usual
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of balance
What happens if an earache goes untreated?
If an earache advances to an ear infection, you need to seek treatment from a doctor. Untreated chronic ear infections can potentially lead to surgical repair, which is far worse than taking medication or using ear drops. This could also cause the infection to spread beyond the ear to other parts of the body.
If you’ve been experiencing pain in one or both of your ears, it might be an earache. Earaches can arise from a number of different things like infection, injury to the outer ear canal, and even allergies. While children often experience more frequent bouts with this condition than adults do, any person who has ever had an earache knows how painful they are!
The pain may manifest itself as a sharp or dull ache that makes even the smallest sound unbearable. And if you have an untreated ear infection (which is sometimes what causes these symptoms), fever could also be present along with temporary hearing loss. Contact us today to find out about treatment options for your particular situation and stop suffering right now!