Minor illnesses.

Ear infections & earaches

Earaches and ear infection are most common in children. They are less common in adults. Usually affecting just one ear at a time, the pain can be constant or come and go. Providers may treat the pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but antibiotics are often required to resolve a bacterial infection. Without treatment, a serious infection can lead to a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss.

Illustration

What to know before your visit

Patients with the following may be directed to another health care provider:● Ear trauma or foreign item in the ear● Recent scuba diving activity

What to expect at your visit

● We will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, examination and provide a personalized treatment plan for you.● You may need testing and treatment. Please note that additional charges apply for these tests. ● By the end of your visit, your practitioner will provide education and an electronic summary of your services.

What causes earaches?

Ear pain can result from infection, injury to the ear, or an adverse response to certain medications. While most cases of earache aren't serious, it's important to see your doctor if you have unexplained ear pain or think you may have a medical problem. Left untreated, some conditions that cause ear pain are dangerous. For example, even tooth problems can cause ear pain. Common causes of ear pain include:

• Ear infection (otitis media)
• Ear inflammation (otitis externa)
• Foreign objects in the ear canal
• Earwax
• Injury caused by cotton swab
• Pressure change (e.g. flying)
• Sinus infection
• Strep throat

Less common causes of earache include:
• Damaged eardrum
• Dental problems
• Nerve problems
• Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, or jaw pain

What are the symptoms of earaches and ear infections?

Signs of ear pain can be different between children and adults. 
Indications of ear problems in children include:● pain with yawning, chewing and moving the jaw (jaw pain)● pulling at the ear● irritability and difficulty sleeping● a low-grade fever or loss of appetite
Symptoms in adults include:• Drainage from ear that is bloody or looks cloudy• Ear pain that is worse when lying down or bending over• Fever• Headache, particularly with nausea and vomiting • Pulling on ear

When to seek treatment for ear pain?

Ear pain can be very painful and discomforting. It is best to seek treatment right away if your ear pain is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
● Ear pain that's always severe● Blood draining from the ear● Dizziness● Ear pain accompanied by a fever above 103°F (39.5°C)● Severe ear pain for more than 48 hours● Pain when you tug on your earlobe or move your face, jaw

How are earaches treated?

Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics that are swallowed or by drops that go into the ear. Both treatments may be used for severe infections. Providers may also use drops that help to treat the ear pain locally if it is severe.
Pain caused by ear wax can be treated by removing the wax. This is best done by a health care professional, because sometimes ear wax can be pushed deeper into the ear and cause more problems. Ear drops that soften the wax and allow it to fall out on its own may be used as well.
Antibiotics are not effective against a virus, so viral infections will be treated differently. Jaw problems are treated by a dentist
Earache can be very painful. Do not struggle, you are doing the best possible thing by getting help.