How to take care of ear pain: The request could not be satisfied
How to Relieve Ear Pain
Ear pain (otalgia) can feel like a dull, sharp, or burning sensation. The pain may come on gradually or suddenly. It might be constant or come and go, depending on the cause. One or both ears can be affected. Though ear pain is more common in children, it can occur in adults as well.
Read on to learn more about ear pain causes, home remedies, and treatments.
Ear Pain Causes
Ear pain is a common symptom that can have a number of causes, including infection and injury. Sometimes ear pain is caused by referred pain, which is pain that originates elsewhere in the body (e.g., throat, teeth) and is felt in the ear.
Although rare, ear pain can also be referred from a cancer. Always have persistent ear pain evaluated by a healthcare professional.
One of the most common causes of ear pain is infections of the ear. Ear infections can occur in the inner, middle, and outer ear.
Inner Ear Infection
Labyrinthitis is an ear disorder that is caused by inflammation and/or irritation in the inner parts of the ear, which are responsible for balance and hearing. It may cause symptoms such as vertigo, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, and temporary hearing loss. Inner ear infections usually do not cause ear pain.
An inner ear infection is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, but in some cases can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Middle ear infections (otitis media) occur when fluid and inflamed tissue build up in the middle ear (the area between your eardrum and the oval window of your inner ear).
Otitis media is more common after catching a cold or having nasal congestion. Children are more susceptible to middle ear infections, but adults can get them, too.
The symptoms include moderate to severe aching pain in the ear and fever. If left untreated, the eardrum can rupture because of the pressure buildup of fluids.
Outer Ear Infection (Otitis Externa)
Outer ear infections (otitis externa) occur in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to where the outside of the ear meets the head.
This type of ear infection is commonly called “swimmer’s ear.” When water gets into and remains in the ear, it creates a moist environment in which bacteria or fungi can grow and thrive, causing infection.
Otitis externa can also occur when external items placed in the ear (such as headphones, hearing aids, and cotton swabs) damage the skin inside the ear canal, which can lead to infection.
Otitis Media With Effusion
Otitis media with effusion (OME) is a buildup of fluid deep inside the middle ear. The pressure of this fluid may cause pain and temporary hearing loss.
OME, which is sometimes called “glue ear,” may clear up on its own. Sometimes a minor procedure to place small tubes (grommets) in the ear can help drain the fluid to provide relief.
Earwax is meant to protect your ear canal from bacteria, injury, and water. Sometimes the wax can build up or get pushed back into the ear canal, leading to a blockage.
A buildup of earwax can sometimes cause ear pain. With an earwax blockage, you may feel a sensation of fullness or congestion in the ear. You may also hear a ringing in your ears or have temporary hearing loss from the blockage.
Eustachian Tube Blockage
The eustachian tube is a narrow tube that connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. It protects the middle ear from bacteria and viruses, keeps air pressure equal in the middle ear space, and helps drain secretions from the middle ear.
If the eustachian tube is blocked, bacteria or fluid can become trapped inside the ear and cause infection. Symptoms of a blocked eustachian tube include ear pain, ringing or popping sensation in the ear, dizziness, and hearing loss.
External Causes of Ear Pain
Sometimes a pain in the ear is not because there is a problem with the ear itself. Instead, the pain is felt in the ear even though the issue is somewhere else (this is called referred pain).
Common causes of referred ear pain include:
- Dental problems: A dental abscess (a collection of pus in the teeth or gums caused by a bacterial infection) or tooth infection causes a throbbing sensation in the affected area of the mouth and can also be felt in the ear.
- Throat infection: Sore throats can make it painful to swallow, and the discomfort can be felt up in the ear as well. Sometimes an earache is a sign of a throat infection, such as tonsillitis.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome: Pain in the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull can sometimes be felt in your ear.
There are things you can do at home to relieve ear pain, such as:
- Chew gum or yawn to help your ears “pop.”
- Hold a cold or warm compress to the outer ear for 15 minutes at a time (alternate between cold/warm throughout the day).
- Perform neck and jaw exercises that rotate the neck and move the jaw.
- Sit in an upright position.
- Take a hot bath or shower to loosen congestion.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can help reduce pain and inflammation in the ear. Some options include:
- Ear drops: These products typically contain glycerin and isopropyl alcohol, which help dry excess fluids from the ear.
- Decongestants: These medicines (e.g., Sudafed, Afrin nasal spray) reduce swelling in the mucous membranes, which helps to open up passages to the ear and relieve symptoms.
- Pain relievers: OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help with minor discomfort and inflammation.
Self-care and OTC medications are not always enough to treat ear pain. If the pain does not go away or gets worse, it’s important to see your doctor—especially if you also have a fever, notice pus or fluid coming from the ear, or have hearing loss.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help treat your earache, including:
- Antibiotics: If you have an ear infection that is caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics (such as amoxicillin or penicillin).
- Ear Drops: Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotic ear drops that are placed directly into the ear to clear the infection.
If wax buildup is the culprit causing your ear pain, your doctor might prescribe wax-softening ear drops, which help break up the wax and let it come out on its own.
If you have ongoing ear pain, or an ear condition that requires specialized treatment, your doctor might want to refer you to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. This doctor can run additional tests and recommend a procedure to relieve your ear pain.
For example, if your ear pain is caused by a wax blockage, the ENT may perform a procedure to remove wax buildup from the ears for relief.
Ear flushing (ear irrigation) is a medical procedure that removes impacted earwax, debris, dead skin cells, and infected tissue from the ear canal.
The doctor uses a tool called an otoscope to get a clear image of the middle ear to see if irrigation is necessary. If it is, a syringe-like tool is used to insert water or a saline mixture into the ear to flush out any excess earwax.
Microsuctioning (vacuuming ear wax) is a procedure in which a doctor uses a tiny vacuum to gently dislodge and remove impacted earwax. The quick and efficient method is often used when ear flushing or irrigation has not helped.
After the doctor has examined the ear using an otoscope or binaural microscope, they will carefully remove the wax using suction. The process takes only a few minutes, and there should be very little (if any) discomfort felt during the procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you quickly get rid of an earache?
Warm and cold compresses at home can help to quickly reduce ear pain. Hold a cold or warm compress to the outer ear for approximately 15 minutes at a time for pain relief. Try alternating between warm and cold compresses to determine which provides the most relief.
What is the best painkiller for an earache?
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) usually help to alleviate ear pain. Alternate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen every few hours for optimal pain relief.
How can I relieve ear pain at night?
If ear pain is keeping you up at night, try swallowing and yawning to help open the eustachian tubes. You can also sleep in an elevated position to relieve pressure on the eardrums if the pain is felt most when you’re lying down.
How can you prevent ear pain while flying?
Yawning, swallowing, and chewing gum during takeoff and landing can help prevent ear pain while flying.
Can Vicks VapoRub ease ear pain?
No. There is no clinical evidence that suggests Vicks VapoRub can ease ear pain. Inserting things into the ear may put debris in the ear and cause injury.
Are there any essential oils that treat earaches?
Some essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, pain-relieving properties that might also be beneficial for earaches. For example, tea tree oil and basil oil may help in reducing ear pain.
A Word From Verywell
A case of mild ear pain will often go away on its own or with the help of home remedies after a few days. If your ear pain is worsening or has not gotten better after several days, it’s important to see your doctor. Your ear pain might be caused by an infection or a condition that needs treatment, such as antibiotics or a medical procedure.
Causes and Treatment of Earaches and Earwax Removal
Though kids are often the targets of earaches, they trouble grownups as well. Earaches can happen in both ears, but usually only affect one ear at a time. The infection, which may cause a never-ending pain or an inconsistent ache in your ear, can also cause fever, dizziness and hearing loss.
- Ear infection
- Earwax buildup
- Foreign objects in the ear (such as cotton swabs)
- Sinus infection
- Strep throat
- Water or shampoo trapped in the ear
- Eczema in the ear
- Infected tooth
- Perforated eardrum
Your earache may also come with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe ear pain
- Extreme headaches
- Loss of balance
- Swelling around the ear
- Pus or blood drainage from ear
- Infected tooth
- Perforated eardrum
For an ear infection, your physician may prescribe oral antibiotics, eardrops, or both. Oftentimes antibiotics are not needed for middle ear infections because the infection will clear on its own. However, antibiotics may be needed for more severe infections and those that last longer than a few days.
Your medical provider will use an otoscope to examine inside your ear to help make a diagnosis. If you do receive an antibiotic, make sure that you finish your prescription — it’s important. This helps to guarantee that the infection you’re suffering from will clear up completely. Don’t just skip the medications once your symptoms improve.
If your ear pain is caused by wax buildup, the doctor may prescribe wax-softening eardrops. This should cause the wax to fall out. Your physician may also flush out the wax or she may use a vacuum-suction device.
Should I go to Indigo?
MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care can diagnosis your earache. If you have an ear infection that requires antibiotics, we can prescribe you medication so it will get better. If you do not need an antibiotic, your medical provider can provide other treatment options to ease the pain.
It’s especially important to take infants and small children who show signs of ear pain (grabbing at their ears, inconsolable crying) to see a doctor.
If you have any of these symptoms along with your earache, it’s probably best for you to visit your nearest emergency department:
- Swelling or a knot has formed behind or under the ear
- You have difficulty moving parts of your face in the usual way
- You have weakness or feel lethargic
- Sudden high fever
- Prolonged dizziness, loss of balance, extreme headaches
Find an Indigo Urgent Care location near you.
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Ear Infections in Children, Babies & Toddlers
What is an ear infection?
An ear infection is an inflammation of the middle ear, usually caused by bacteria, that occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Anyone can get an ear infection, but children get them more often than adults. Five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. In fact, ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their child to a doctor. The scientific name for an ear infection is otitis media (OM).
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
There are three main types of ear infections. Each has a different combination of symptoms.
- Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most common ear infection. Parts of the middle ear are infected and swollen and fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. This causes pain in the ear—commonly called an earache. Your child might also have a fever.
- Otitis media with effusion (OME) sometimes happens after an ear infection has run its course and fluid stays trapped behind the eardrum. A child with OME may have no symptoms, but a doctor will be able to see the fluid behind the eardrum with a special instrument.
- Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) happens when fluid remains in the middle ear for a long time or returns over and over again, even though there is no infection. COME makes it harder for children to fight new infections and also can affect their hearing.
How can I tell if my child has an ear infection?
Most ear infections happen to children before they’ve learned how to talk. If your child isn’t old enough to say “My ear hurts,” here are a few things to look for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
- Fussiness and crying
- Trouble sleeping
- Fever (especially in infants and younger children)
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Clumsiness or problems with balance
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
What causes an ear infection?
An ear infection usually is caused by bacteria and often begins after a child has a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory infection. If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, these same bacteria may spread to the middle ear; if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn to the microbe-friendly environment and move into the middle ear as a secondary infection. Because of the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
Parts of the ear
The ear has three major parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear, also called the pinna, includes everything we see on the outside—the curved flap of the ear leading down to the earlobe—but it also includes the ear canal, which begins at the opening to the ear and extends to the eardrum. The eardrum is a membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
The middle ear—which is where ear infections occur—is located between the eardrum and the inner ear. Within the middle ear are three tiny bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The bones of the middle ear are surrounded by air.
The inner ear contains the labyrinth, which help us keep our balance. The cochlea, a part of the labyrinth, is a snail-shaped organ that converts sound vibrations from the middle ear into electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals from the cochlea to the brain.
Other nearby parts of the ear also can be involved in ear infections. The eustachian tube is a small passageway that connects the upper part of the throat to the middle ear. Its job is to supply fresh air to the middle ear, drain fluid, and keep air pressure at a steady level between the nose and the ear.
Adenoids are small pads of tissue located behind the back of the nose, above the throat, and near the eustachian tubes. Adenoids are mostly made up of immune system cells. They fight off infection by trapping bacteria that enter through the mouth.
Why are children more likely than adults to get ear infections?
There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.
A child’s immune system isn’t as effective as an adult’s because it’s still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.
As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
How does a doctor diagnose a middle ear infection?
The first thing a doctor will do is ask you about your child’s health. Has your child had a head cold or sore throat recently? Is he having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears? If an ear infection seems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell is to use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to look at the eardrum. A red, bulging eardrum indicates an infection.
A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a puff of air into the ear canal, to check for fluid behind the eardrum. A normal eardrum will move back and forth more easily than an eardrum with fluid behind it.
Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and air pressure, is a diagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosis still isn’t clear. A tympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains a tiny microphone and speaker as well as a device that varies air pressure in the ear. It measures how flexible the eardrum is at different pressures.
How is an acute middle ear infection treated?
Many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, to be taken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or eardrops, to help with fever and pain. (Because aspirin is considered a major preventable risk factor for Reye’s syndrome, a child who has a fever or other flu-like symptoms should not be given aspirin unless instructed to by your doctor.)
If your doctor isn’t able to make a definite diagnosis of OM and your child doesn’t have severe ear pain or a fever, your doctor might ask you to wait a day or two to see if the earache goes away. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines in 2013 that encourage doctors to observe and closely follow these children with ear infections that can’t be definitively diagnosed, especially those between the ages of 6 months to 2 years. If there’s no improvement within 48 to 72 hours from when symptoms began, the guidelines recommend doctors start antibiotic therapy. Sometimes ear pain isn’t caused by infection, and some ear infections may get better without antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiously and with good reason helps prevent the development of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it’s important to make sure your child takes it exactly as prescribed and for the full amount of time. Even though your child may seem better in a few days, the infection still hasn’t completely cleared from the ear. Stopping the medicine too soon could allow the infection to come back. It’s also important to return for your child’s follow-up visit, so that the doctor can check if the infection is gone.
How long will it take my child to get better?
Your child should start feeling better within a few days after visiting the doctor. If it’s been several days and your child still seems sick, call your doctor. Your child might need a different antibiotic. Once the infection clears, fluid may still remain in the middle ear but usually disappears within three to six weeks.
What happens if my child keeps getting ear infections?
To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics aren’t helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.
If placement of the tubes still doesn’t prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.
Can ear infections be prevented?
Currently, the best way to prevent ear infections is to reduce the risk factors associated with them. Here are some things you might want to do to lower your child’s risk for ear infections.
- Vaccinate your child against the flu. Make sure your child gets the influenza, or flu, vaccine every year.
- It is recommended that you vaccinate your child with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). The PCV13 protects against more types of infection-causing bacteria than the previous vaccine, the PCV7. If your child already has begun PCV7 vaccination, consult your physician about how to transition to PCV13. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children under age 2 be vaccinated, starting at 2 months of age. Studies have shown that vaccinated children get far fewer ear infections than children who aren’t vaccinated. The vaccine is strongly recommended for children in daycare.
- Wash hands frequently. Washing hands prevents the spread of germs and can help keep your child from catching a cold or the flu.
- Avoid exposing your baby to cigarette smoke. Studies have shown that babies who are around smokers have more ear infections.
- Never put your baby down for a nap, or for the night, with a bottle.
- Don’t allow sick children to spend time together. As much as possible, limit your child’s exposure to other children when your child or your child’s playmates are sick.
What research is being done on middle ear infections?
Researchers sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) are exploring many areas to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of middle ear infections. For example, finding better ways to predict which children are at higher risk of developing an ear infection could lead to successful prevention tactics.
Another area that needs exploration is why some children have more ear infections than others. For example, Native American and Hispanic children have more infections than do children in other ethnic groups. What kinds of preventive measures could be taken to lower the risks?
Doctors also are beginning to learn more about what happens in the ears of children who have recurring ear infections. They have identified colonies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, called biofilms, that are present in the middle ears of most children with chronic ear infections. Understanding how to attack and kill these biofilms would be one way to successfully treat chronic ear infections and avoid surgery.
Understanding the impact that ear infections have on a child’s speech and language development is another important area of study. Creating more accurate methods to diagnose middle ear infections would help doctors prescribe more targeted treatments. Researchers also are evaluating drugs currently being used to treat ear infections, and developing new, more effective and easier ways to administer medicines.
NIDCD-supported investigators continue to explore vaccines against some of the most common bacteria and viruses that cause middle ear infections, such as nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Moraxella catarrhalis. One team is conducting studies on a method for delivering a possible vaccine without a needle.
Where can I find additional information about ear infections?
The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.
Use the following keywords to help you search for organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on ear infections:
NIDCD Information Clearinghouse
1 Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-3456
Toll-free voice: (800) 241-1044
Toll-free TTY: (800) 241-1055
Email: [email protected]
NIH Publication No. 10–4799
Ear infections | Caring for kids
Middle ear infections are also called otitis media. They are very common, especially in children between 6 months and 3 years of age. They are usually not serious and aren’t contagious. Most ear infections happen when a child has already had a cold for a few days.
What causes an ear infection?
Viruses or bacteria (germs) cause middle ear infections. The eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the back of the throat. Germs travel from the back of the throat when the eustachian tube is swollen from a cold, causing infection in the middle ear.
Who is at higher risk for ear infections?
- Children less than 5 years old, because they have shorter eustachian tubes.
- Children who attend daycare, because they tend to have more colds.
- Children with allergies.
- Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke. Smoke causes inflammation of the eustachian tube, making ear infections more likely.
- Children who were not breastfed. Breast milk has antibodies that help fight infections.
- Babies who are being bottle fed, especially if they swallow milk while lying too flat. Milk can enter the eustachian tube and cause inflammation, which increases the risk of an ear infection. Children should be held upright while drinking a bottle. When they are old enough to hold their own bottle well, they should be taught to drink from a regular cup (not a “sippy cup”) and no longer given a bottle.
- Children with cleft palates, as their eustachian tubes are often inflamed.
- Children of First Nations and Inuit descent, though it’s not clear why.
How do I know if my child has an ear infection?
Older children will usually complain of an earache. While younger children might not be able to say they have an earache, they may:
- have an unexplained fever,
- be fussy,
- have trouble sleeping,
- tug or pull at their ears, or
- have trouble hearing quiet sounds.
Some children with an ear infection may also have fluid draining from the ear.
How is an ear infection diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose ear infections by looking at the ear drum (tympanic membrane) with a special light called an otoscope. They look for fluid in the middle ear, at the colour and position of the ear drum, and monitor the pressure in the middle ear. Common viral infections can make the ear drum look red, but antibiotics are not needed.
How is an ear infection treated?
- If a child doesn’t have too much discomfort or a high fever, the doctor will likely wait 24 to 48 hours (1 to 2 days) to see if the ear infection gets better on its own. If the child does not improve or gets worse, you should take them back to the doctor.|
- You child’s doctor will prescribe antibiotics if:
- your child is moderately to severely ill with a high fever (more than 39◦C),
- your child has severe pain,
- the condition has not improved for 48 hours, or
- the ear canal has new fluid.
For an uncomplicated ear infection, children between 6 months and 2 years usually take an antibiotic for 10 days. Children over 2 years of age will take an antibiotic for 5 days.
The doctor might suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the child’s pain. Only give ibuprofen if your child is drinking reasonably well. Do not give ibuprofen to babies under 6 months old without first talking to your doctor.
Do not give over-the-counter medications (ones you can buy without a prescription) to babies and children under 6 years without first talking to your doctor. The only exceptions are medications used to treat fever, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Children usually feel better within 1 day of starting an antibiotic. Your doctor might want to see your child again to be sure the infection has cleared up completely. Fluid can remain in the middle ear without inflammation for a few weeks.
When do children need tubes in their ears?
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if he has trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, he may need a tube inserted through the ear drum and into the middle ear. The tube helps to keep air pressure normal on both sides of the ear drum and helps fluid drain from the middle ear.
Putting tubes in requires a brief operation by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Children usually go home the same day.
When should I call the doctor?
Call your doctor if you think your child has an ear infection AND:
- has other serious medical problems,
- seems ill,
- vomits over and over,
- is younger than 6 months old,
- is older than 6 months old and has had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- has swelling behind the ear,
- is very sleepy,
- is very irritable,
- has a skin rash,
- isn’t hearing well or at all,
- remains in a lot of pain despite at least one dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or
- still has an earache after 2 days of treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
How can I prevent my child from getting an ear infection?
- Wash your child’s hands and your own often to reduce the chance of catching a cold.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Avoid bottle-feeding your baby when they are lying down. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
- Transition your baby from a bottle to a cup by 1 year of age.
- Don’t use a pacifier (soother) too often.
- Don’t smoke, and keep your child away from any secondhand smoke. Exposure to smoke can increase the risk of ear infections.
- Ensure your child gets the pneumococcal vaccine (if they are at least 2 months of age, and have not already had this shot).
- Ensure your child gets a flu shot every year.
More information from the CPS
Reviewed by the following CPS committees
- Infectious Diseases and Immunization Committee
Last updated: January 2016
Earache | Ear Pain Causes and Treatment
Structure and functions of the ear
Cross-section of the ear
The ear is roughly divided into three parts.
The outer (external) ear includes:
- The part you can see, called the pinna.
- A narrow tube-like structure – the ear canal.
- The eardrum which is at the end of the canal. This separates the external ear from the middle ear. The eardrum is a tightly stretched membrane, a bit like the skin of a drum.
The middle ear is an air-filled compartment. Inside it are three of the smallest bones in the body, called malleus, incus and stapes. These bones are connected to each other. The last in the group, stapes, also makes contact with the internal (inner) ear. The air space of the middle ear connects to the back of the nose by the Eustachian tube.
The inner ear is made up of two components:
- The cochlea – a snail-shaped chamber filled with fluid. It is lined with special hair cells. These cells transform sound waves into electrical signals. These signals are then passed by nerves to the brain.
- The vestibular system, which helps with balance. The vestibular system is made up of a network of tubes, called the semicircular canals, plus the vestibule. The vestibular system detects movement instead of sound.
The ear is important for hearing and for balance.
Anatomy of the ear
Your ears do the remarkable job of allowing you to hear a huge range of sounds, from a whisper t…
What are the causes of earache?
There are many causes of earache. Some of the more common ones are explained briefly below. For many of them you will find links to leaflets with more detailed information.
Middle ear infection (otitis media)
Otitis media is an extremely common cause of earache in children. It can occur in adults, but is unusual. It is most common in children of preschool age. It often occurs following a common cold.
Children with otitis media have a painful ear and often a high temperature (fever). Mostly otitis media gets better on its own and is treated with painkillers only. However, if it is not improving after a few days or if your child is very young, your doctor may consider antibiotic medication.
For more details about otitis media, see the separate leaflet called Ear Infection (Otitis Media).
Infection in the ear canal (otitis externa)
Otitis externa is an infection of the outer part of the ear, the ear canal. This type of infection is more common in adults than in children. It is more common in people who swim. It also may occur in people who have skin conditions such as eczema around the ear.
If you have otitis externa your ear may feel sore or itchy. There may be a discharge coming out of your ear. Your ear may feel blocked and you may not be able to hear as well as usual.
The treatment for otitis externa is usually ear drops or an ear spray. You will normally need to see your doctor for a prescription. However, there are ear drops called acetic acid ear drops (EarCalm®) available over the counter which can treat most mild cases of otitis externa. Acetic acid drops make the inside of the ear more acidic. This has antifungal and antibacterial effects but for more severe infections an anti-infective medicine such as antibiotic ear drops may be needed.
If you have had otitis externa before and recognise the symptoms, you may be able to purchase acetic acid ear drops from a pharmacy. However, if this is the first time, you should see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
See the separate leaflets called Ear Infection (Otitis Externa) and Fungal Ear Infection for more detailed information.
Our ears produce a waxy substance to protect our ear canals. Normally this naturally moves out of your ear on its own. However, sometimes a plug of wax can form, blocking your ear canal. This makes you feel deaf on one or both sides and can be uncomfortable. You also sometimes hear popping sounds or a ringing in your ear when you have wax stuck in your ear. Occasionally it can make you feel dizzy.
Never try to remove earwax with a cotton bud. This can push the wax further into your canal and cause a blockage.
Wax can usually be removed with oils or ear drops. Warmed olive oil or sodium bicarbonate ear drops (available from a pharmacy) applied three times a day usually help within a few days. If this does not remove the wax, you may need to see the nurse at your GP surgery. They may need to flush your earwax out with water (called irrigation).
For further information, see the separate leaflet called Earwax.
A common cold
Sometimes a common cold can cause earache without there being an infection in the ear itself. This is due to the excessive mucus you produce when you have a cold. Some of this may collect in the middle ear, putting pressure on the eardrum and causing earache. This will normally improve on its own. Treatments that may help the earache in this case are:
- Steam inhalation.
- Decongestants (not suitable for children under 6 years; for children under 12 years only with advice from your doctor).
- Simple painkillers.
For further information, see the separate leaflet called Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.
Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE
All sorts of objects can get stuck in ears. This is particularly common in children but can also occur in adults. Foreign bodies which can get into ears include beads, seeds, toys, bits of cotton bud and insects. This may cause earache, deafness, or a discharge. You (or someone else) may be able to see the foreign body in the ear canal. Never try to remove a foreign body yourself, as you may push it deeper into the ear canal. This might damage the eardrum. It is best to see your doctor. Foreign bodies can usually be removed with forceps or by flushing them out with water (irrigation).
Trauma or injury
Poking things into your ear, such as cotton buds or sharp objects, can cause damage to the ear canal. This can cause soreness which usually goes away on its own. It may go on to become infected, however. So if the pain does not settle, or if you start to have a discharge, see your doctor.
To avoid damage don’t poke anything in your ear, even if it itches or you think you have wax there.
The eardrum can be torn (perforated) by objects poked into the ear. This can also happen due to other injuries such as a very loud noise or a slapped or boxed ear. Other more serious head injuries can also cause damage to the eardrum. A perforated eardrum usually causes a very sudden and severe pain. There may be some bleeding from the ear or you may not be able to hear as well. A perforated eardrum usually heals up on its own very well. However, if the pain or other symptoms do not settle, you should see your doctor.
See the separate leaflet called Perforated Eardrum for more information.
Flying and diving
The changes in pressure as a plane starts to descend commonly cause pain in the ear. This usually settles quickly. Similar problems can happen when scuba diving or even when going down in a lift. If pain carries on a few days after flying or diving, you should see a doctor.
For more information, and tips about how to improve this type of earache, see the separate leaflets called Ears and Flying and Barotrauma of the Ear.
Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE
Boils, spots and pimples
Boils, spots and pimples can occur on the ear just like anywhere else on your body. If they are on the outside of the ear, you will be able to see them. If they are in the ear canal you may not be able to see where the pain is coming from. A small spot or boil will usually improve on its own with warm bathing. However, if it is very large or red or painful, you may need to see a doctor for advice. It may need an antibiotic medicine, or lancing with a needle.
See the separate leaflet called Boil in the Ear Canal for more information.
Pain coming from somewhere else (referred pain)
Referred pain is pain felt in one part of the body from a problem elsewhere in the body. Sometimes a pain in the ear is nothing to do with the ear but is coming from somewhere else. Causes of referred pain in the ear include:
Shingles is a condition where the virus which causes chickenpox (the varicella-zoster virus) is reactivated in just one nerve. It causes pain and a rash in the area of skin which that nerve supplies. Occasionally shingles can affect the nerve which supplies the ear. Symptoms may include:
- Pain inside the ear or on the outer ear, or both.
- A blistery rash on the ear.
- Hearing loss.
- Ringing in the ear (tinnitus).
- Weakness of one side of the face, so the face looks lopsided.
If you think you might have shingles around the ear, see a doctor as soon as possible. If treatment is required, it works best if it is started early. However, not all cases of shingles need treatment.
See the separate leaflet called Shingles (Herpes Zoster) for more information.
What should I do if I have earache?
If you feel well in yourself and have an earache, you may be able to treat yourself with simple painkillers. Paracetamol or ibuprofen, if you can take it, usually works well for ear pain. However, a person with earache should see a doctor if:
- They are unwell with other symptoms such as a high temperature (fever), a rash, being sick (vomiting), confusion or drowsiness.
- They are younger than 3 months.
- They are younger than 6 months and have a temperature of more than 38°C.
- They are younger than 2 years and have pain in both ears.
- The earache has not improved after four days.
- The ear is discharging.
- There is something stuck in the ear.
- The pain is very severe and simple painkillers are not helping.
- They have other illnesses which might affect their ability to fight off an infection.
Other ear problems
Discharge from the ear
A number of different conditions can cause discharge from the ear. Many of these are discussed in the sections above. The more common ones include:
- A burst (perforated) eardrum. This is discussed above in the trauma and injury section. Another common cause of a perforated eardrum is otitis media, also discussed above. In this condition the inflamed eardrum becomes so stretched that it bursts. The infected pus (mucus) in the middle ear then leaks out along the ear canal and can be seen. Typically, when this happens, a child has had an earache for a few days and then it suddenly becomes worse. Then the pus appears and usually the pain improves. This is because the eardrum is not being stretched so tightly anymore. An eardrum burst in this way usually heals up very well. However, antibiotics may be prescribed for the infection, so see your doctor.
- Outer ear infection (otitis externa).
- A foreign body in the ear.
Rare causes include:
Normally you will need to see a doctor to establish the cause of the discharge and the best treatment.
This is discussed in full in a separate leaflet called Glue Ear. It is a condition where the middle ear fills up with a glue-like fluid instead of air. It usually occurs in children who have had a number of middle ear infections. It causes dulled hearing. Occasionally it can cause earache.
Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing noise heard inside the ear. It is discussed in full in a separate leaflet called Tinnitus. The most common cause for this is age-related changes in the ear. This occurs commonly along with age-related hearing loss. Sometimes it is caused by another condition, such as Ménière’s disease, noise damage or ear infections. Your doctor will rule out an underlying cause.
Hearing loss (deafness)
Many of the conditions discussed elsewhere in this leaflet can cause hearing loss. One of the main functions of your ear is to allow you to hear. Therefore almost anything that goes wrong with it can affect your hearing. Depending on the condition this can be temporary or permanent, treatable or not. If the hearing loss comes on suddenly with earache and/or discharge, it is most likely to be due to an infection. If it comes on gradually as you get older, it is more likely to be due to age-related hearing loss (presbyacusis). Wax is a common, easily treated cause of hearing loss. In children, glue ear is a common cause of hearing loss.
See your doctor if you have hearing loss. They will be able to establish the cause. Depending on the cause, they may be able to treat it. Even if it can’t be treated (for example, age-related hearing loss), your doctor will be able to refer you for hearing aids. These can make an enormous difference to your life.
See the separate leaflets called Hearing Problems and Hearing Tests for more information.
Ear infection (middle ear) – symptoms, treatment
Middle ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that may cause earache, temporary hearing loss, and fluid discharge. A middle ear infection that does not clear up on its own may require treatment with antibiotics.
Middle ear infections occur mainly in early childhood, although older children and adults also get these kinds of infection. The incidence of acute ear infection in New Zealand children (aged less than 5 years) was recently estimated at 27%. A complication associated with middle ear infections is the retention of fluid, causing “glue ear”. Children should always be taken to a doctor if they have earache.
What is middle ear infection?
The ear is made up of three different sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. These parts all work together so you can hear and process sounds. The outer and middle ear are separated by the eardrum – a very thin piece of skin that vibrates when hit by sound waves.
This page deals with middle ear infection (otitis media) which is the infection / inflammation of the air-filled space behind the eardrum. This space can become blocked and filled with mucus (fluid), which can become infected, causing inflammation.
There are two types of middle ear infection. An acute infection starts suddenly and lasts for a short period of time, while a chronic ear infection is one that does not get better or keeps coming back. Chronic ear infection can result in long-term damage to the ear.
Sometimes fluid will remain in the middle ear after an ear infection, causing “glue ear”, a relatively common condition that is often undetected among New Zealand pre-schoolers. Glue ear can adversely affect hearing and may take several weeks to resolve. Children with a suspected ear infection, or who have difficulty hearing, should see a doctor. Children with evidence of damage to the inside of the ear, hearing loss, or language learning delay are likely to be referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist (otolaryngologist).
Outer ear infection (otitis externa) is characteristically different to middle ear infection. This is a skin infection in the outer ear canal which may start as an itch and develop into infection causing inflammation. Sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear, this kind of infection can normally be treated effectively with ear drops from your doctor or pharmacist.
A middle ear infection often begins as a common cold, influenza (flu), sinusitis, or strep throat infection. The nose and throat are connected to the ear by the eustachian tubes; bacteria enter the nose or throat and travel up the eustachian tubes to the middle ear.
The accumulation of fluid in a blocked eustachian tube may increase the pressure within the middle ear causing pain and ear drum rupture.
Although the ear drum will repair itself, frequent rupture (which can occur with chronic ear infection) may result in the development of scar tissue on the ear drum and hearing loss. Middle ear infections are common in children because their eustachian tubes are narrow and easily blocked.
Factors that increase the likelihood of developing ear infections include:
- Younger age (children aged six months to two years)
- Group child care
- Bottle feeding infants while they are lying down
- Seasonal factors (autumn and winter)
- Poor air quality (exposure to tobacco smoke or high levels of air pollution).
Symptoms and diagnosis
Typical signs and symptoms of middle ear infection include:
- A feeling of pressure or blockage in the ear
- Earache – pain in the ear that is sharp, dull, or throbbing
- Muffled hearing
- Discharge from the ear, known as runny ear
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
Specific signs that your baby may have an ear infection include crying or grizzling more than usual, they keep touching their ear, and/or they have a discharge from the ear. An older child may show some of these signs or complain of having a sore ear.
To diagnose ear infection, a doctor will likely use an otoscope, which is an specialised instrument, with a light and magnifying glass, to look inside the ear to detect fluid behind the eardrum. A pneumatic otoscope is a special type of otoscope that allows the doctor to gently puff air against the eardrum. The puff of air should cause the eardrum to move. If the middle ear is filled with fluid there will be little or no movement of the eardrum.
Note, earache is a common symptom of middle ear infection but not all earaches are caused by a middle ear infection. A build-up of ear wax in the outer ear, or changes in altitude or air pressure, are examples of other causes of blockage or earache.
Ear infections usually clear up on their own, so treatment may begin with managing pain and close monitoring of the condition. However, ear infection in infants and severe cases are likely to require treatment with antibiotic medication. Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice for treating acute otitis media in patients who are not allergic to penicillin.
The antibiotic should be taken exactly as directed and until the course has been finished. Babies or children should be taken back to the doctor or health nurse once the course of antibiotic has been finished to confirm that the infection has cleared up properly. An earlier return visit to the doctor may be necessary if there has been no improvement in your child’s symptoms. The doctor may want to try a different antibiotic.
After seeing your doctor, self-treatment may help to relieve symptoms, including:
- Holding a moist warm face cloth or wheat bag against the infected ear
- Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for relief of pain or fever
- Lying with the affected ear against your pillow, or sitting propped up in bed
- Gently washing the outer ear with soap and a face cloth to remove any discharge
- Keeping background noise in the home to a minimum.
You should never use cotton buds to clean your ears or your baby’s ears, or put anything into the ear that has not been prescribed by a doctor, as the eardrum is delicate and can be easily damaged.
The risk of middle ear infections in babies can be reduced by keeping rooms warm and dry, ensuring a smoke-free environment and breast feeding for as long as possible (preferably longer than six months). Showing older children how to blow their nose properly can also help prevent ear infection. Children’s vaccinations should also be kept up to date.
Taking precautions to avoid catching a cold or flu will also reduce the risk of developing a middle ear infection. This can be achieved by washing hands frequently, not sharing eating and drinking utensils, covering the mouth when sneezing, and getting a seasonal flu vaccination.
The use of a nasal decongestant during a cold, influenza, or sinusitis, may also help to prevent an ear infection.
Ministry of Health
Healthline 0800 611 116
Royal New Zealand Plunket Society
PlunketLine 0800 933 922
Gribben B, et al. (2012). The incidence of acute otitis media in New Zealand children under five years of age in the primary care setting. J Prim Health Care. 2012;4(3):205-12.
Mayo Clinic (2017). Ear infection (middle ear) (Web Page). Rochester, NY: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ear-infections/symptoms-causes/syc-20351616 [Accessed: 23/01/18]Ministry of Health (2014). Earache (Web Page). Wellington: New Zealand Government Ministry of Health https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/earache [Accessed: 23/01/18]
Ministry of Health (2016). Ear infections, earache and glue ear (Pamphlet). Wellington: New Zealand Government Ministry of Health. https://www.healthed.govt.nz/system/files/resource-files/HE1414_Ear_infections_earache_glue_and_ear.pdf
O’Toole, M.T. (Ed.) (2013). Otitis media. Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions (9th ed.). St Louis, MI: Elsevier Mosby.
Waseem, M. (2017). Otitis media (Web Page). Medscape Drugs and Diseases. New York, NY: WebMD LLC. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/994656-overview [Accessed 23/01/2018]
Reviewed: January 2018
Middle ear infections and hearing loss
“Mommy, my ear hurts.” It’s a sentence no parent wants to hear, yet most of us will. Year after year, ear infections rank among the top reasons parents take their kids to the pediatrician.
Pain and tugging on ears can indicate
an ear infection.
There are different types of ear infections (such as the outer ear infection known as swimmer’s ear), and they all can cause temporary hearing loss. Yet, in children, it’s middle ear infections that are most associated with temporary hearing loss.
Also called acute otitis media, middle ear infections result in ear pain and inflammation. During or after the initial infection, fluid can build up in the air-filled space behind the eardrum, which is known as otitis media with effusion.
This build-up can reduce movement of the eardrum and middle ear bones, leading to trouble hearing. This can be alarming, but there is good news: If treated properly, the infection will clear, the ear pain will go away, and your child’s hearing ability will return to normal. Still, it’s important to learn the causes, symptoms and risk factors so you know when to seek medical help for your child.
Causes of middle ear infections
In short, middle ear infections almost always develop during or after upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold. The infection causes inflammation and swelling in the back of the throat, including the anatomical part known as the the Eustachian tube. This tube connects the throat to the middle ear, and when it’s swollen, it can no longer equalize the pressure in the middle ear space.
The dark red area is the middle ear, where
fluid can accumulate—causing pain,
pressure and infection.
This pressure builds up in the tiny middle ear space and normal secretions can’t drain away as they normally would. The negative pressure and excess fluid can cause ear pain, pressure, dizziness and temporary hearing loss.
Why are children so prone to ear infections?
Middle ear infections can happen to anyone with a cold. However, younger children are far more prone to middle ear infections for two reasons. First, their immune systems are less developed, so it’s harder to fight off respiratory infections. Second, their Eustachian tubes are more horizontal, making it harder for fluid to drain.
Another risk factor for middle ear infection is a chronic infection of the adenoids or tonsils. These glands are close to the Eustachian tube, so viral or bacterial invaders can easily spread to the middle ear. In those cases, an ear-throat-nose specialist, known as an otolaryngologist, may recommend surgical removal of those glands—known as a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy—to prevent the spread of infections in the future. Once the surgical areas have healed and the middle ear space is ventilated, middle ear infections will likely get better.
Symptoms of middle ear infections
For babies and toddlers, it can be difficult to recognize symptoms for little ones who cannot verbally express the ear pain or irritation they might be experiencing. If you’re concerned a child that you take care of could have a middle ear infection, look for these tell-tale signs:
- Constant or frequent scratching or pulling at the ears (indicating pain or discomfort)
- Slowed response to voices and other sounds (indicating trouble hearing)
- Secretions from the ear
For older children, adolescents and adults, these symptoms are possible:
- A constant earache
- A feeling of pressure in the ears
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Feelings of dizziness or imbalance
- Vomiting or general nausea
- Rarely, a feeling of “double hearing”
If you or your child has any of the symptoms above, call your pediatrician, family doctor or otolaryngologist. It is important to act quickly because a middle ear infection can easily be treated and the ear pain alleviated. Here’s what to do if it’s the weekend or a holiday.
For children with autism, ear infection diagnosis may be delayed, due to communication difficulties. However, they are not more prone to infections than other children. More: Autism, auditory processing disorder and your child’s hearing health.
The link to hearing loss
Middle ear infections can affect your child’s hearing. This can be unsettling, but it’s almost always temporary and doesn’t result in any permanent hearing loss. Still, any hearing loss should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Addressing hearing loss is important because infants and toddlers who suffer from chronic ear infections experience stretches of mild hearing loss during a crucial learning period for speech and language.
Treating middle ear infections
Treating a middle ear infection usually involves two steps: Treating the pain, and then, if symptoms don’t improve, prescribing antibiotic medication to fight the infection. Doctors sometimes wait to prescribe antibiotics because an otherwise healthy child may be able to fight the infection on their own, helping a child avoid side effects and other risks of antibiotics.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends focusing on pain management for the first 1 to 2 days before prescribing antibiotics. Over-the-counter ibuprofen and acetaminophen are recommended for pain relief, and occasionally ear drops that contain pain medicine.
Doctors sometimes wait to prescribe antibiotics, because the infection may clear up on its own.
If a doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat a middle ear infection, it is usually amoxicillin. This oral antibiotic works to destroy the infection. Over time, inflammation will get better, and the Eustachian tubes can properly ventilate the middle ear.
Until the backed-up fluids have cleared, your child is prone to recurrent infections. It is important to take the entire course of prescribed antibiotics—even though the symptoms may have subsided. Older children may report being able to hear better several days after they have resumed normal activities. This is a sign that the fluid build-up has resolved.
Recurrent or chronic ear infections
For recurrent middle ear infections and lingering middle ear fluid that causes temporary hearing loss, an otolaryngologist may recommend a minor surgical procedure known as ear tube surgery, to insert a tubes into the eardrums.
This is usually an outpatient procedure. A doctor will typically make a small incision in the eardrum and place a small tube. The tube, also called a pressure equalization tube, aerates the middle ear space through the ear canal to allow any trapped fluids to dissipate. This procedure has become less common in recent years, reserved for children who are having trouble hearing as a result of recurring middle ear infections.
Can you prevent ear infections?
Because colds are very infectious and easily spread among children, it can be very hard to prevent your child from getting sick. However, there are risk factors you can control:
- Limit your child’s exposure to secondhand smoke
- Make sure your child—and you—are vaccinated against the flu every year
- Follow good hygiene habits, like frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizer
- Teach your child to cough into her elbow, not her hands
- Wear swim ear plugs when swimming
If hearing loss isn’t from an infection
If your child has sudden hearing loss but no signs of a middle ear or respiratory infection, be sure to check out our page on hearing loss in children. Acting quickly is important because children with hearing loss can have delayed language and speech development. Our directory can also help you find audiologists near you.
Mandy Mroz, AuD, President, Healthy Hearing
Dr. Mandy Mroz earned her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Mandy’s career is guided by her dedication to serving people with hearing loss and her past experience in hearing research, training and management.
Read more about Mandy.
Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.
Read more about Joy. 90,000 Does your ear hurt? This is otitis media …
What to do if the ear hurts, otolaryngologist Viktoria Evdokimova told.
The vast majority of ear diseases belong to the inflammatory group and have a common name – otitis media. Adults also suffer from otitis media, but rarely, more often it occurs in children.
During the first three years of life, about 80% of babies suffer from this disease at least once.What is the reason? A child has a shorter auditory tube than an adult. It is almost straight and has no bends. This structure makes it easier for the infection to enter the middle ear. Most often, otitis media develops as a complication of the common cold.
With acute respiratory infections or severe blowing of the nose, the infection enters the middle ear through the auditory tube.
Adenoids and chronic diseases of the oral cavity and pharynx can also cause otitis media. Less commonly, allergies or ear injuries are the cause.
In children and adults, the main symptoms of otitis media are the same:
- Hearing impairment (often, hearing improvement is observed with a change in head position).
- Severe pain in the ear, radiating to the temple.
- Temperature rise.
- Headache, vomiting, dizziness.
- In children under one year old, the only symptom of otitis media may be severe anxiety and crying.
- Symptoms of otitis media, as a rule, develop against the background of other symptoms of the common cold (ARI), several days after the onset of ARI.
At the first suspicion of an ear disease, in case of anxiety, altered state of the child, it is necessary to call a pediatrician or ENT doctor to the house, and an adult should consult a specialist in a polyclinic, medical center. The doctor should determine the tactics of combating the disease and prescribe drugs.
“In case of a mild course of the disease, you may be advised to limit yourself to local treatment at home – lotions, ointments, balms,” says otolaryngologist Viktoria Evdokimova .- In severe cases, hospitalization is indicated and the addition of general therapy to local treatment – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory. If drug treatment is not effective, surgery is indicated. But this is usually a rare case. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment is usually sufficient. Therapy necessarily includes a course of antibiotics in the form of tablets or injections (with purulent otitis media) for at least 5-7 days. This is especially true for children under two years of age.This is done to prevent the development of complications. In addition, it is necessary to regularly use drugs for vasoconstriction (vasoconstrictor nasal drops), which maintains the patency of the auditory tube. Local treatment is also applied. As a rule, it is carried out at home, according to certain rules.
If the doctor prescribed semi-alcohol or vodka compresses for the treatment of otitis media (compresses are contraindicated for suppuration from the ear), then they should be done as follows.Take a four-layer gauze napkin, the size of which should extend beyond the auricle by 1.5–2 cm. Make a slit for the ear in the middle. The napkin must be moistened in an alcohol solution or vodka, squeezed out, applied to the ear area (put the auricle in the slot). Put a compress (waxed) paper on top, slightly larger than gauze, and cover with a piece of cotton wool (the size should exceed the size of the paper). All this can be secured with a scarf tied around the head. The compress should be kept until it has a heat effect (3-4 hours).
Direct instillation of ear drops is dangerous. At home, you cannot examine the ear as the ENT doctor will do, and clarify the nature of the inflammation at the moment, see if the eardrum is damaged or not. If droplets enter the middle ear cavity when the eardrum ruptures, they can damage the ossicles or damage the auditory nerve, resulting in hearing loss. Instead, it is necessary to make a turunda out of dry cotton wool, carefully insert it into the external auditory canal and drip warm medicine onto the cotton ball 3-4 times a day.
A portion of the drops should be heated to body temperature (36.6 ° C).
You can, for example, heat the pipette in hot water, and then draw the medicine into it, or first draw the drug, and then heat the pipette with it in hot water. If a pipette-dispenser is attached to the bottle with drops, then it is convenient to heat in hot water that part of the medicine that will fit in the pipette when the bottle is turned over. Close the cap first.
You should not get carried away with self-medication, prescribe treatment on the recommendation of pharmacy employees or friends, give your child drugs, information about which is gleaned from advertising.Improper treatment or advanced ear disease is fraught with the development of meningitis in both children and adults.
Advice for moms
As you know, it is much easier to prevent a disease than to cure it. To reduce the risk of otitis media in a child, following a few simple rules will help:
- It is advisable for babies to provide breast milk as long as possible. It is the source of the basic defenses of a small organism.
- When feeding, it is best to keep the baby close to an upright position to avoid liquid entering the ear through the auditory tube.
- Intelligent hardening also increases the body’s resistance.
- If the baby does catch a cold, when treating him, adults must remember that in the supine position in the nasopharynx, stagnation forms, increasing the risk of infection of the middle ear. It is necessary to remove the pathological contents from the nasal cavity with a suction-pear and periodically turn the crumbs from one side to the other.Sucking mucus with a pear should be done gently and slowly.
Ears have nothing to do with it …
In some diseases, pain can be given to the ear, while simulating ear disease. This can happen at:
- dental diseases,
- ulcerative and abscessing processes in the area of the angle of the lower jaw, palatine tonsils, pharynx, larynx, as well as the entrance to the esophagus,
- neuritis and neuralgia of some cranial nerves (glossopharyngeal, vagus and intermediate nerves),
- neuralgia of the second and third branches of the cervical plexus.
Complications of inflammatory processes in the middle ear are rare, but can still occur:
- Hearing impairment. Usually they manifest themselves in the form of hearing loss, most often they are temporary.
- Ruptured tympanic membrane. When pus builds up in the middle ear, it can break through the eardrum. As a result, a small hole remains in it, healing within 2 weeks. The transition of the infectious process into a chronic one.The main manifestation of this complication is the periodic discharge of pus from the middle ear. In this case, there may be some hearing impairment.
90,000 Ear hurts – what to do: simple methods of treatment
If eyes are the mirror of the soul, then ears are its doors: through hearing we receive a huge amount of information and, most importantly, hear the music of life. And women, as you know, do “love with their ears.” It is all the more offensive if an illness has encroached on such a vital organ, which often happens in winter, because, according to statistics, the peak of ear diseases occurs precisely in the winter.What to do if suddenly ear hurts?
Why does it hurt?
To begin with, of course, you need to make an appointment with an otolaryngologist as soon as possible. Only he will be able to establish an accurate diagnosis. And this is important, because there are many reasons why ears can hurt .
Otitis . An inflammatory process that occurs in the ear against a background of reduced immunity. The location is the ear canal (otitis externa), the middle ear area (middle and internal otitis media).Symptoms include severe pain, runny nose, high fever. The main danger is hearing loss, meningitis, intracranial complications.
Periochondrite . An infectious disease resulting from complications from influenza or pneumonia. The location is the ear cartilage tissue. Symptoms include painful swelling, purulent cavity. The main danger is a non-healing fistula.
Lymphadenitis . A disease associated with inflammation of the lymph nodes.The location is the lymph nodes behind the auricle. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache. The main danger is the transition to a purulent form, but alas, these are far from all the causes of pain in the ears. Excess earwax, the pathology of neighboring organs, hypothermia, and microtrauma with inaccurate use of cotton swabs can cause discomfort in the organ of hearing.
See also: Live 2: Online Issue 11/19/2015 – Childhood Diseases in Adults (VIDEO)
In addition, inflammation of the tonsils, neuralgia of the cervical plexus nerve and toothache can be the cause of pain.Acute ear pain can be the beginning of very serious problems – such as chronic diseases, complete or partial deafness, and even meningitis. Therefore, once again: it is imperative and urgent to see a doctor!
How to help yourself?
It often happens that you don’t get to the doctor: there is a queue at the clinic, there is no money or you are away at all. And anyone who has had an ear at least once will confirm: the pain is such that it is not easy to endure it. What other means at hand can a person help himself in a similar situation? They are.But the important thing to remember here is that these are just pain relievers.
Drops from a decoction of bay leaves . Take a few bay leaves and steep them in a little water. Let the broth brew for at least two hours. Instill seven drops in a sore ear, and at the same time take a couple of tablespoons inside. The anti-inflammatory properties of the broth will prevent disease from developing.
Tampon based on ammonia and camphor .Dissolve a tablespoon of coarse salt in 1 liter of warm boiled water. In another clean container, mix 10 g of camphor oil and 100 g of 10% ammonia. Mix everything and shake well until the white flakes disappear. In the resulting mixture, you need to wet a sterile cotton swab, wring it out and put it in your ear for a couple of minutes – you don’t need to hold it for a long time. The pain relieving properties of camphor can help numb the pain.
See also: Neck hurts – what to do (VIDEO)
Boiled onion .Take a small onion, wash, peel and cook until soft. Do not pour the broth, but gently wipe the sore ear with a sterile cotton swab, then put a boiled onion on it. Thanks to the sulfur trace elements contained in the onion, it disinfects well and relieves pain. However, not for long. But before going to the doctor, be patient with it. And of course, no one has yet canceled painkillers. To relieve pain, take ketans, analgin, or paracetamol. And, even if there is no runny nose, drip vasoconstrictor drops into the nose.This will help relieve pressure from the inside of the auditory organ on the middle ear and membrane.
What not to do?
Ear pain is also dangerous because the sick person himself can hardly determine what caused it, and the means of treatment that will help in one case can harm in another. For example, with internal otitis media, the ear should never be warmed up. If purulent discharge comes from the ear, heating can be very harmful. The same goes for other remedies.Therefore, just in case, we will list what absolutely cannot be done with pain in the ear.
Do not bury drops in your ears, chosen on your own initiative or on the advice of your friends. Be especially careful if these are drops that contain antibacterial ingredients. The fact is that some of them, in certain diseases, can have a toxic effect on nerve endings, which can lead to partial deafness.
Read also: Body language will tell you where and what hurts
Do not warm your ears, including with a closed compress or, for example, a hair dryer.So you run the risk of injury to the eardrum.
In no case should you use radical folk methods such as “put a well-heated brick on your ear” or “put a newspaper rolled up in a tube in your ear and set fire to” .
You cannot start taking antibiotics on your own. It will be useless if the cause of your illness is fungus. In the worst case, such actions can weaken the immune system and, instead of preventing, you will help the disease.How to save your ears?
However, in any case, it is best not to get sick. Therefore, it is important to say about how to protect your ears. Especially in the cold winter.
The first rule is to keep clean. And you need to clean your ears correctly. The cotton swab must be sterile, and you can insert it into the ear no further than 4-5 mm from the edge of the ear canal. But “digging deeply”, as many people like, do not need to: you cannot take out the sulfur, but push it deep into it, as a result of which a sulfur plug is formed, which can cause pain.It is also not recommended to clean your ears with a wet stick or while bathing in the shower. Water can enter the ear and cause inflammation in the ear canal, including otitis media. An interesting fact: the habit of chewing gum contributes to the self-cleaning of the ears.
The second rule is to maintain immunity . It would seem, where are the exercises, vitamins and hardening, and where are the ears? However, science has proven that weak immunity is the basis of all ear diseases. So the connection is direct.
Rule three – do not start a runny nose .The fact is that, according to research by specialists, in 95% of cases, harmful microorganisms enter the ear from the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx. And for this, imagine, even that you blow your nose incorrectly (blowing out not one nostril after the other, but both at once) is enough, not to mention if you seriously start a runny nose, spreading whole battalions of aggressive bacteria in your nose.
See also: For Live 2 – STB: online edition of 11.11.2015 – pneumonia (VIDEO)
In winter, especially when there is strong wind and sleet, do not forget to wear a hat.Ideally – a hat with a top made of raincoat fabric, insulated with a single-layer padding polyester, and lined with jersey, a helmet or earflaps.
And it still does not hurt to treat … food wisely for the sake of your ears. Yes, yes, ears have their quirks. So, food with an abundant content of fat and cholesterol is harmful to their health, since high pressure and fat on the walls of blood vessels slow down blood flow in the ear area. Caffeine is also harmful to hearing for the same reason.
But what products our ears respect very much:
– carrots – are responsible for good blood supply, including important for the eardrum;
– walnuts – improve the functioning of the inner ear;
– dark chocolate – supplies the inner ear with oxygen;
– chicken – rich in proteins, which are the building blocks of the internal structures of the ear.
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why it hurts, how to treat it, what to do at home
Injury or injury. Inserting something into your ear, such as cotton swabs or sharp objects, can damage your ear canal. This can cause soreness that usually goes away on its own. However, the site of injury may become inflamed. Therefore, if the pain persists or you start to have discharge, see your doctor.
To avoid damaging your ear, do not insert anything into your ear, even if it itches or thinks there is wax in it.
The eardrum can be torn (perforated) with objects inserted into the ear. It can also happen due to other injuries, such as a very loud sound or a blow to the ear.
Other more serious head injuries can also damage the eardrum. A perforated eardrum usually causes very sudden and severe pain.There may be bleeding from the ear canal cavity, or hearing suddenly disappears.
A perforated eardrum usually heals very well on its own. However, if pain or other symptoms persist, you should see your doctor.
Flying and diving. Pressure changes as the plane begins to descend usually cause ear pain. This usually goes away quickly.
Similar problems can occur when scuba diving or even taking an elevator.
If pain persists a few days after flying or diving, you should see a doctor.
Boils and pimples. They can occur on the ear, just like anywhere else on the body. If they are outside the ear, you will be able to see them. If it’s in the ear canal, you won’t be able to see where the pain is coming from.
A small spot or abscess usually goes away on its own after washing the ears. However, if the abscess is very large, red, or painful, you may need to consult your doctor.You may need antibiotic medicine or needle puncture.
Ear pain with colds
No matter what time of year it is outside the window, none of us is immune from colds: in the summer heat, you so want to drink an ice-cold liquid. The result of momentary bliss is a cold. And instead of lying on the beach with friends, you have to sit at home taking the necessary procedures. But especially the risk of getting sick increases in autumn – the spring period, when there is slush, cold and piercing wind, and you don’t want to “still” or “already” pull on a bunch of things, including a hat.It is in such a situation that most often you can get hypothermia and, accordingly, ear pain with a cold.
Causes of ear pain with colds
Pain symptoms in a hearing aid can be the result of many diseases, but the most commonly diagnosed pathology is otitis media, or, as people call it, the common cold.
The causes of ear pain with a cold are often associated with a decrease in the body’s defenses.
The second, most likely source of the symptoms under consideration can be pathogenic flora, bacterial or infectious damage to the tissues of the outer and / or inner ear.
But you should not immediately make a similar diagnosis for yourself, since the source of the pain, perhaps, has nothing to do with the infection. For example, fluid accumulated in the ear is a consequence of the inflammatory process or a banal visit to the pool followed by going outside, exerting a pressure on the eardrum. The water that gets into the auricle, with a sharp cold wind outside or low temperatures, cools, thereby causing an inflammatory process. In this case, all pain symptoms will disappear as soon as health is restored.
But a cold affects not only the tissues of the ear canal itself. Everyone knows that it usually starts in the throat or nose. As a rule, diseases localized in these human organs often give off pain in the ear, although such symptoms are less intense.
Otitis media is the most commonly diagnosed disease that often develops after an untreated or “transferred on the legs” cold, which was infectious or viral in nature.Otolaryngologists divide acute otitis media into purulent and catarrhal. The essence of the difference is that the latter proceeds without the formation of abscesses, and if the former is diagnosed, the ear canal is filled with pus produced by the pathogenic flora, which must be removed, while sanitizing the cavity.
The cause of pain can also be swelling, which has affected the tissues of the auditory tube, by eliminating the edema with narrowing drugs, it is possible to get rid of the unpleasant symptom.
Symptoms of ear pain with a cold
We begin to feel the onset of a cold when uncomfortable symptoms appear that begin to bother the sick person.And the symptoms of ear pain with a cold are just one of them.
It usually starts with a sore throat or itching inside the auricle. Gradually, the cold begins to “overgrow” with other symptoms. It may be a complex of all the factors listed below, or only a few of them may appear.
- Ear congestion, decreased sound threshold.
- The appearance of problems with sleep. Ear pain simply does not allow you to fall asleep normally, exhausting.
- Feverish condition. Body temperature indicators can increase up to 40 C.
- Constant background noise that follows the patient.
- Liquid discharge of a greenish, white or yellowish, less often brown, shade. This fact may indicate a perforation of the tympanic membrane, which has arisen as a result of an organ infection.
- Pain when swallowing.
After a person has caught a cold, the pain begins to bother not immediately, but only after a certain time interval, when the inflammatory process has already started and is rapidly progressing. The main thing is not to waste time and start therapy during this period, otherwise the inflammation will also affect the inner part of the auditory canal, which is already more serious. The intensity of the shooting pain becomes unbearable.
Diagnosis of ear pain with colds
Before deciding on the pathology, you need to make an appointment with the doctor.In this case, such a specialist is an otolaryngologist. Diagnosis of ear pain with colds begins with a specialist examination of the ear canal using a special ENT instrument – an otoscope.
The eardrum, not damaged by the disease, has an even, slightly transparent grayish-pink tint.
An indicator of the disease is the hyperemic mucous membrane of the canal, its swelling, the presence of other pathological symptoms.
Using a pneumatic otoscope, the doctor checks for the presence or absence of fluid.A small amount of air is fed into the passage. This is necessary to get the vibration of the eardrum. If the required response force is not observed, then there is an accumulation of fluid in the passage.
When clinically indicated, tympanometry is performed to diagnose the infectious nature of the disease.
Treatment of ear pain with colds
A cold, it would seem, is not such a dangerous disease, but how many unpleasant hours and days does it bring to a person affected by it? Therefore, at the first signs of its onset, it is necessary to contact a qualified specialist who, having made the correct diagnosis, will give the necessary recommendations and write down the therapeutic therapy.
Treatment of ear pain with colds pursues two main goals – the removal of pain and relief of the inflammatory process, bringing the patient’s body to complete recovery.
If the patient has begun to solve the problem, when the disease has not yet passed into a severe phase, it is quite possible that it will be possible to get by with special drops that will extinguish the inflammation, and, therefore, relieve the person of pain. In this case, the otolaryngologist prescribes analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
As anesthetic drugs can be assigned: paracetamol, spazgan, celecoxib, phenazone, maksigan, metamizole sodium, analgin, spazdolzin, meloxicam and others.
Paracetamol is prescribed to the patient in dosage:
- Adults and adolescents (over twelve years of age) – one to two tablets two to four times a day, but the daily amount of medication taken should not exceed 4 g.
- Younger children, who are between six and twelve years old, usually take half or a whole tablet four times a day.
- For very young patients who are already three months old, but not yet six years old, the dosage is calculated individually at 10 mg for each kilogram of the baby’s weight.
Contraindications for taking paracetamol include severe renal and / or liver dysfunction, alcoholism, anemia, hypersensitivity to the components of the drug, as well as the period of the first trimester of pregnancy.
To relieve inflammation, the following are usually prescribed: ibuprofen, tiaprofenic acid, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, fenbufen, ketoprofen and others.
Ibuprofen is administered orally immediately after a meal. With a moderate intensity of pain symptoms, the patient needs to take 1.2 g per day.
At the same time, it is strictly forbidden to introduce ibuprofen into the treatment protocol if the patient has a history of ulcerative colitis, perforation or ulcerative damage to the mucous membrane of the digestive tract, hematopoiesis disorders, vision problems, severe renal and liver dysfunction, amblyopia, as well as hypersensitivity to one or more components of the drug.
If the inflammatory process has passed into a severe stage, accompanied by severe pain and purulent discharge, then without the help of antibiotics, it will no longer be possible to cope with the problem. Taking them is guaranteed to rid the body of infection and speed up the healing itself.
Can be prescribed: anauran, otofa, sofradex, normax (norfloxacin), otipax, otinum, cypromed, candibiotic and others.
Candibiotic ear drops are applied topically.Four to five drops should be instilled into the ear canal three times – four times throughout the day. The duration of the therapeutic course is from seven to ten days, but relief can already be expected in three to five days.
Contraindications include increased intolerance to the component composition of drops, as well as perforation of the tympanic membrane. Candibiotic is also not used to treat children under six years of age.
If the inflammation affects the tissues of the outer ear, then antiseptic ointments and solutions are prescribed.Thus, warming applications based on boric acid or alcoholic-vodka compresses can be applied, which are applied to the affected organ for 10-15 minutes.
Homeopathic medicines are also used, but in a severe form of the disease, they are not so effective.
In the presence of purulent discharge, doctors often prescribe myringotomy (ear tubes) to help drain pus and accumulating fluid. The attending physician takes such a step if the discharge has been observed for more than three months.The second indication for its use may be frequent infections that recur in the ear canal.
To relieve the patient of the accumulation of pathological secretions, the doctor, through the hole in the eardrum, carefully feeds a thin tube made of special plastic or metal. Depending on the effectiveness of the treatment process, such a tube is installed in the ear for a period of eight months to one and a half years. After the need for it disappears, it goes out on its own.If necessary, this period can be increased, but this decision remains in the competence of a specialist.
Remedy for ear pain for colds
When pain symptoms appear, many of our compatriots, ignoring a visit to a doctor, try to heal themselves, which happens, not only hopelessly, but also simply dangerous, especially if the disease has passed into the acute phase of its course. Indeed, in the acute form of the flow, warming compresses are strictly prohibited, and it is unacceptable to use medicines in the form of ear drops.Therefore, a remedy for ear pain with a cold should only be prescribed by a qualified specialist. It is the doctor who is able to correctly assess the clinical picture and paint an effective drug treatment.
In the treatment of ear pain, topical drugs are mainly used. Often in the prescription sheet, you can see, with a mild form of a cold, drops such as otinum, otipax, sofradex and their analogues.
With the progression of the disease and the transition of otitis media to the stage of acute illness, the above drops are usually no longer used, so as not to aggravate the situation.The focus is on stronger broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Quite often, modern methods of treatment in the fight against pyogenic bacteria in the middle ear use laser therapy.
The insidiousness of a cold is that its first symptoms are well felt by the patient, while it is practically impossible to determine a complete recovery without the help of a doctor. Therefore, if a person did not visit a specialist, but took treatment on his own, relying on the recommendations of a pharmacist from a pharmacy, then an untreated disease threatens to develop into a chronic condition with a sluggish pathology, which increases the risk of recurrence of otitis exacerbation.
Folk remedies for ear pain with colds
Colds haunt humanity from the moment when it began to perceive itself as an individual, separated from the animal world. For all the time of the conscious existence of mankind, he managed to accumulate considerable experience in the treatment of this or that disease.
The range of recipes that can relieve pain symptoms manifested in the ear area is also wide enough. Folk remedies for ear pain with colds are numerous, but we will give only a few of them in the article.
- Lavender oil, thuja oil, calendula or mint alcohol tincture will help relieve pain. It is necessary to instill five drops of medicine several times throughout the day, and the pain will gradually fade away.
- You can apply a bandage made of medical cotton wool or a napkin dipped in vodka or alcohol diluted with water on a sore ear. Withstand the warming procedure for twenty minutes.
- Removes tinnitus, which often accompanies pain, simply chewing a pastry clove.
- You can try to relieve inflammation using hot bags of salt. For this, a canvas bag is taken, well-heated salt is poured into it. It must be applied to the sore spot every hour and a half. The procedure should be repeated until the pain syndrome disappears and the inflammation stops.
- Horseradish juice is used as ear drops. Enough two drops three times a day and the pain, and with it the disease, gradually recede.
- Garlic oil is also used, which today can be purchased at the pharmacy or prepared on your own. For the medicine, you need 100 ml of very hot, but not boiling, any vegetable oil. Two garlic cloves are introduced into it, previously crushed or chopped with a knife. Let it brew and drain. From gauze, bandage or cotton wool, make a turunda (roll up a flagellum), moisten it in the resulting solution and carefully place it in the sore ear, leaving it for ten minutes.This composition is an excellent disinfectant that inhibits fungal organisms and microbes.
- Against the background of a cold, you should eat lemon daily along with its zest.
- Propolis tincture can be prepared. Take 10 g of bee product and place it in the refrigerator for a while, after which it will be easy to grind on a grater. Place the resulting shavings in a dark glass vessel, to which add 70 ° wine alcohol. The liquid should cover the propolis. Cork the vessel and leave for eight to ten days to brew in a cool, dark place.The drug must be shaken several times a day (up to five). After the time has elapsed, the tincture should be rearranged for 10 – 12 hours in the refrigerator. The medicine can be drained and used. Before use, taking a few drops in a 1: 1 ratio, dilute the tincture with water. Moisten turunda (cotton wool or gauze) in liquid and place for twenty minutes in a sore ear. If there is a strong burning sensation, it is better to remove the drug.
- Turundas dipped in onion juice, placed in a sore ear for half an hour, show themselves well.
- A fresh geranium leaf will help relieve pain and inflammation. It can be used both in the form of a crushed gruel, which is laid in the ear canal, and in the form of a rolled tube. But for this, a folded sheet is cut at a right angle and placed inside with a cut. Next, you need to put a piece of cotton wool on your ear and press it with a scarf tied on your head. Change the leaflet periodically.
- You can take a mixture of two oils: linseed and onion. Apply it to cotton wool and place it in the ear for three hours.After the specified period, change the tampon with a new portion of oil.
- For compresses, a prepared tincture of calamus rhizome is also suitable. Pour crushed raw materials (ten grams) with 100 ml of vodka and put in a dark, cool place for ten days. Every day, three to four drops should be dripped into both ears. At the same time, this tincture is taken orally (inside) in 30 drops.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that no matter how safe the methods of traditional medicine may seem, they must be used only with the permission of the attending physician and, often, in conjunction with medications.
Treating ear pain for colds at home
When a diagnosis is made – otitis media – only when a severe form of the disease is detected, the otolaryngologist can refer the patient to inpatient treatment. In most cases, ear pain is treated at home for colds.
In this case, the doctor must fully schedule the regimen of taking medications and the corresponding procedures. The methods and formulations of alternative medicine are widely used in the treatment of the pathology under consideration.It should only be remembered that all these activities can be carried out at home only with the permission of your attending physician. So the patient will save himself from many problems and complications, while he will come to a full recovery in a shorter period of time.
It will not be superfluous to know a number of medical recommendations, the use of which will allow you to avoid a number of errors in treatment, while maintaining your health.
- Warming compresses can be used if body temperature does not exceed 38 ° C.
- Oil applications can also be used in treatment, but they are less practical. For example, heated camphor or vegetable oil. But such compresses maintain the warming effect longer. It can be kept for up to six hours.
- Before injecting the drug into the ear opening, it is advisable to rinse the cavity with 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. The procedure is performed while lying on your side. Seven to eight drops of liquid are injected into the ear. You should lie down like this for ten minutes. If inflammation affects both ears, the same procedure is carried out for the other ear canal.
Drops for ear pain with colds
In the relief of the problem under consideration, one of the first places is given to topical drugs used in the form of a solution that is instilled into the ear.
Drops from ear pain with a cold have different pharmacodynamics, therefore, based on the existing concomitant symptoms, one or the other is signed. The most effective drug for the existing clinical picture is prescribed only by the attending physician.
These drugs may have vasoconstrictor, anti-inflammatory and / or analgesic properties.
For otitis media, the medicine is injected warm using a medical pipette. The temperature of the liquid should be about 36 – 37 degrees.
Most often, when diagnosing otitis media, doctors prescribe drops that have antibacterial and analgesic qualities: albucid, otipax, anauran, sofradex, otinum, cypromed.
Otium is usually prescribed for the inflammatory process affecting the middle ear, as well as in the case of acute catarrhal inflammation of the outer tissues. The active active compound of the drug is choline salicylate, which allows it to have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
It is recommended to use the drug in question three to four times throughout the day, injecting three to four drops into the sore ear.
The instillation procedure itself is simple, but it should still be followed. The patient lies on his side with the sore ear up. In this position, instillation is performed, after which the person must lie down for another two to three minutes.
You should not use such drugs if the patient has an increased sensitivity to one or more of the components of the injected drug, as well as if there is a perforation of the tympanic membrane.
Otipax is used to relieve colds of any etiology.Moreover, in addition to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, this drug also has characteristics that allow it to destroy pathogenic microorganisms, delay their reproduction and development.
Like the previous drops, it is used topically, twice to three times a day, four to five drops. This drug has practically no contraindications, so it is approved for the treatment of even babies.
Contraindications should only include hypersensitivity to the components of the drug, as well as the presence of mechanical damage to the tympanic membrane, the possibility of developing an allergic reaction to lidocaine.
Despite the fact that otipax is not an antibiotic, it is actively and effectively used in the treatment of otitis media.
Sofradex can be found on drugstore shelves, both in the form of ointments and drops. The pharmacological characteristics of Sofradex make it possible to arrest the symptoms of otitis media of any etiological source. It has a wide spectrum of action: a strong antibiotic that effectively attacks pathogens, an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine agent.
Sofradex is equally effective on both gram-negative and gram-positive types of bacteria.
The medicine is injected into the sore ear two to three drops three times – four times throughout the day.
The drug has a number of contraindications, which include increased intolerance to the patient’s organisms of the components of the drug, viral or fungal infections, perforation of the tympanic membrane, tuberculosis.
Therefore, Sofradex can only be used as directed by the attending doctor, excluding all contraindications. The duration of the treatment course is no more than seven days.
Anauran drops, due to their composition (polymyxin B, neomycin, lidocaine), effectively suppress the reproduction and further development of both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Due to the lidocaine present in it, they have analgesic properties.
Anauran is indicated for use for no more than seven days.It is recommended to inject four to five drops into the ear canal, making two to four approaches per day.
A contraindication to use is the increased sensitivity of the patient’s body to the components of the drug, including lidocaine.
Drops of cypromed, the active substance of which is ciprofloxacin, appears on the pharmaceutical market as an ophthalmic drug, but, nevertheless, it showed itself excellently in the relief of otitis media.It has an antimicrobial effect, effectively affecting a wide range of gram-negative microflora, both active and passive.
The recommended course of therapy with cypromed should not exceed 14 days. To achieve the desired result, the patient receives five drops three times throughout the day. After instillation, the ear opening should be closed with a cotton swab.
The medicine is unacceptable for use in case of intolerance to human organisms of its components.
Prevention of ear pain with colds
When the first signs of a cold appear, a person instinctively tries to get rid of them faster, avoiding complications and worsening of the condition. Prevention of ear pain with colds, both for adults and for young patients, is absolutely identical.
- Pain symptoms in the ear area may be the result of an infectious disease, such as influenza. Therefore, you should protect your body and the child’s body from infectious lesions.This is especially true during the period of epidemics and the spring – autumn period, when the number of diseases increases sharply.
- You should maintain your immune status at a high level. To do this, it is necessary to regularly temper the body, properly and fully nourish it, introducing a sufficient amount of vitamins and microelements into your diet.
- If necessary, it is worth getting vaccinated against especially dangerous viral infections.
- It is worth giving up bad habits, avoiding secondhand smoke, which weakens the body.It is dangerous for both children and non-smoking adults.
- Avoid irritants that may cause an allergic reaction. This fact also takes away the strength from the body to resist diseases.
- It is advisable to feed babies with breast milk until one year of age. Breast milk has antibodies that can protect your baby from colds and a number of infections.
- It is necessary to regularly carry out wet cleaning and ventilation in the living area.
- When the first signs of a cold appear, it is worth visiting a doctor and starting treatment immediately.
Prediction of ear pain with a cold
It is probably almost impossible to find a person who completely ignores the pathological symptoms of a cold, including pain in the ear. Therefore, the prognosis of ear pain with colds, in the overwhelming majority, is favorable.
It is unlikely that there is at least one person who has never suffered from symptoms of a cold in his life.Especially annoying with a cold, pain in the ears. In the acute course of the disease, its intensity is very difficult to tolerate. Therefore, at the slightest suspicion of an infection in the body, it is necessary to take adequate measures. But so that self-treatment does not lead to a worsening of the situation and complication of the disease, it is necessary to come to a specialist for a consultation in a timely manner. In our case, it is a doctor – an otolaryngologist. And remember, your health is in your hands!
Otitis media of the middle ear – Tikhoretskaya Central Regional Hospital MZ KK
Otitis media of middle ear
The most common ear disease is otitis media.It can appear at any age, but children are especially vulnerable. This is an inflammatory process of one of the ear departments (from the Greek otos – ear). Since there are three parts of the ear anatomically and physiologically, there are three types of otitis media: external, middle and internal. One of the most common manifestations of otitis media is otitis media.
The ear follows the eardrum. Sound waves, passing through the outer ear, cause the eardrum to vibrate. It sets in motion a chain of the auditory ossicles of the middle ear: the malleus, incus and stapes, which are so named because they really look like them.These are the smallest bones in our body. Their articulation amplifies the sound wave many times over, and also regulates its volume with a very small muscle, and thus protects us from injury that a strong signal can cause. There is also an auditory tube in the middle ear, which connects it to the nasopharynx and performs a very important function – equalizes the air pressure in the middle ear. It is she who lays in an airplane or when diving deep under water. To get rid of painful symptoms, you need to make several swallowing movements – the auditory tube expands and the pressure is leveled.The footplate of the stapes is connected to the window of the vestibule of the inner ear. It is a cochlear cavity filled with fluid, the mechanical vibrations of which are converted into nerve impulses. The brain accepts them and forms a sound image.
Inflammation of the middle ear begins with severe, shooting pain. Sometimes it is simply unbearable – ear pain is generally one of the strongest experienced by a person. The temperature can rise to 38-39 degrees, hearing decreases. Relief comes after the eardrum breaks and the accumulated pus flows out.In the future, with a favorable course of the disease, pus stops secreting, the eardrum is overgrown, the state of health is normalized, although hearing may decrease.
Chronic otitis media often occurs as a continuation of acute purulent otitis media, which, for one reason or another, is not cured for a long time. At first, the acute process goes into a subacute, and then into a chronic stage. Chronic purulent otitis media are of two main forms, with one of them affecting the mucous membrane of the middle ear.If the treatment is started on time and well done, it is not difficult to cope with it. In the second case, the inflammatory process affects the bone formations of the ear. Such otitis media is difficult, the layer of the epidermis closest to the bone penetrates into the tympanic cavity and grows to the bone wall devoid of mucous membrane. At the same time, pus is constantly released, has an unpleasant odor, sometimes bone sand is mixed with it, which indicates the destruction of the bone. Conventional anti-inflammatory therapy in severe cases does not give an effect, there is a need for small or extensive surgical interventions.
The development of otitis media is preceded by a runny nose, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, tracheitis, laryngitis. Against the background of a runny nose or sore throat (that is, swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose and nasopharynx), edema of the auditory tube develops, which causes ear congestion. Then the mucous membrane of the middle ear swells, the swelling grows, mucous and mucopurulent discharge appears and accumulates inside the ear, respectively, the pain intensifies, the temperature rises.
Chronic inflammation erodes the bone in the ear, thereby opening the way to serious complications: meningitis (inflammation of the meninges), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain tissue), brain abscess (abscess inside the brain), thrombosis of large intracranial vessels.
A paracetamol tablet can be taken before seeking qualified medical attention to reduce fever and pain. Place a warm, dry compress on your ear. To do this, take a large piece of cotton wool, close the sore ear entirely and press it tightly on top, tying a scarf or putting on a tight-fitting headdress. Since the pain increases in a horizontal position, you need to lie on high pillows.
Treatment includes complete rest, bed rest. According to indications, antibiotics are prescribed (with suppuration, taking into account the sensitivity of microflora to them), sulfa drugs.At high temperatures, antipyretics are indicated. Warming compresses, heating pads, physiotherapy are applied locally. A short-term (for 20 – 30 minutes) antiseptic and analgesic effect is provided by 96% ethyl alcohol in the form of warm drops in the ear.
In the prevention of otitis media, timely competent treatment of inflammatory diseases of the upper respiratory tract (rhinitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, tracheitis), timely access to qualified medical care, following the recommendations of the ENT doctor is of great importance.
GBUZ “Center for Medical Prevention” MZKK
We treat inflammation and pain in the ear after the pool
Water got into the ear while swimming, and now it hurts? Do not ignore this symptom! Find out what he is talking about and what the consequences are. We will help relieve pain and inflammation in the ear after the pool.
If you have a sore ear after the pool – this is an alarm signal. Most likely, water got into the ear and provoked an inflammatory process.Children are most susceptible to this – because their auditory canals are thin and vulnerable to infections. In adults, this problem also arises. Let’s figure out what this symptom is connected with, how to recognize in time that water has entered the ear, and what to do about it!
Causes of Ear Pain
The most common cause of pain after pool is water in the ear that gets there when a person swims or dives.
Some swimming styles encourage water to enter the ear canals. Most often this happens when a person swims on his back, breaststroke or butterfly stroke – in these cases, the head periodically plunges into the water. However, it is very important to remove fluid from the ears immediately after bathing. If this is not done, an inflammatory process may develop.
Swimmers who dive are deeply immersed in water, which completely fills their ear canals and puts pressure on the eardrum.This increases the risk of developing inflammation associated with ear pain.
Otitis media or “water got into the ear”
If you get water in your ear , it washes away the natural secretion, sulfur, and causes it to swell. This creates favorable conditions under which any infection that has penetrated inside actively develops and provokes inflammatory processes. In this case, a person is worried about pain, congestion and severe itching in the ear. All these symptoms indicate a disease such as otitis media.It can be external, which is also called “ swimmer’s ear “, or middle – when a person freezes after swimming and an infection from the nose or throat passes into the middle ear.
What is swimmer’s ear
This term refers to an inflammatory process in the outer ear that affects the auditory canal. At first, it manifests itself with redness and itching, then the person has an ear ache after swimming pool . If left unchecked, inflammation spreads to the middle ear and other structures.
How to get rid of water in the ear
We give detailed instructions on what to do if water gets into your ear:
- Tilt your head to your shoulder and tug lightly on the earlobe.
- Pat dry your ear with a towel.
- If you feel that water remains inside – make a compress of boric alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
If you cannot remove the water, you need to contact an ENT doctor. He knows exactly what to do in such cases.
Important : Do not try to dry the ear canals with cotton swabs or cotton matches.So you will only make it worse – push the swollen sulfur with water inside, damage the skin of the auditory canals, and introduce an infection.
Water in the child’s ear
If water gets into the child’s ear , it must be removed as soon as possible. Children are more prone to ear inflammation because their auditory canals are thin and still developing. Sometimes you need the help of a specialist to extract the liquid from there.
Preventing water from getting into the ears
To prevent water from getting into the ear canals, you need to block access to it.For this, special earplugs are used.
Swimming earplugs keep water out, but allow the person to hear the coach’s commands and other important sounds. It is best to use custom earplugs made from the casts of the ears. They feel as comfortable as possible and do not let water through. Make an appointment to take impressions and order earplugs from our center. It only takes 15 minutes – and then you can enjoy comfortable swimming with earplugs.
Complications of water getting into the ear
If you develop inflammation in your ear due to water, it must be treated as soon as possible. For this, the ENT doctor prescribes special preparations of general and local action that eliminate pathogenic microflora and relieve swelling. If treatment is not started on time, the consequences will be serious. With the development of the inflammatory process, the middle, inner ear and other important structures are affected. This can lead to hearing loss, facial neuritis, temporal bone inflammation, and other complications.
Are you worried about “swimmer’s ear”? How to treat – the ENT doctors of our center know. Make an appointment and receive a personalized therapy regimen.
Detailed information can be obtained from the call center of our ENT center for adults and children by phone:
It hurts your ear – it is better not to experiment
Do not run into trouble
– Evgeny Alexandrovich, please explain what can be the cause of the pain in the ears?
– Ear pain can indicate the presence of a number of diseases, from inflammation of the outer or middle ear to the manifestation of neuralgia.In the latter case, when examining the patient, we do not reveal any inflammatory process. The causes of pain in the ear can be cervical osteochondrosis, inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, as well as diseases of the teeth and pharynx.
Now many of our patients are diagnosed with acute otitis media – in the hot season, middle ear inflammation occurs no less often than in winter and autumn.
– Another summer attack is the “swimmer’s ear”. Is this an ailment that plagues those who swim and dive for a long time?
– Not only.Ears also hurt those who like to drive fast. The pleasant sensation of a cool wind blowing over the face can be replaced by another: a sharp pain in the ear and congestion. This signals an inflamed wall of the ear canal.
And divers, who got water in their ears, have another unpleasant sensation – everything in the head and ears is making noise, squelching, while they notice that hearing acuity decreases sharply. Of course, if a person is healthy, the water that gets into the ear will not do him any harm, it will simply flow out of there in a few minutes.However, it happens that a person himself runs into trouble.
– And which ones, for example?
– For some reason, many are convinced that the ears must be cleaned without fail. And they clean them with cotton swabs, which are freely sold in pharmacies and stores. So it is undesirable to use them for a number of reasons. The most important of them is that these sticks are non-sterile.
Young mothers with children often turn to us. As a rule, they tell the same story: they wanted to clean the child’s ear with a cotton swab, and as a result, they accidentally injured the eardrum.Therefore, I repeat once again: you do not need to clean your ears with cotton swabs. In this way, you still will not clean the sulfur from the ears, on the contrary, you will only move it deeper, which can lead to the formation of a plug.
Who needs rinsing
– In this case, please explain how to properly clean your ear?
– Nothing. It cleans itself. Sulfur forms on the walls of the ear canal, which dries up, and when we chew, the ear canal contracts and it is pushed out.
Another thing is if a person has a predisposition to the formation of sulfur plugs. In this case, he periodically needs to visit a doctor to rinse his ear.
In the beginning there was a runny nose
– In acute otitis media, people are known to experience severe pain. What can be done to ease suffering?
– The most correct thing is to contact a specialist as soon as possible. But it is better to avoid such complications. After all, acute otitis media most often occurs with an inflamed nasopharynx.The man stood in the draft, wet his feet and caught a runny nose. He had a fever, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat. In short, there are all the symptoms of ARVI. If he did not start treatment on time or his immunity is weakened for some reason, the infection spreads to the ears from the nasopharynx through the auditory tube.
– But it happens that you can’t get to a specialist quickly. For example, a person went to nature and it is very far to the nearest settlement where there is a clinic.How, then, is it effective to provide first aid to yourself?
– The main thing here is not to harm. After all, even seemingly harmless medical manipulations can aggravate your condition. First you need to understand what you have: otitis externa or otitis media, and only then act.
So, if your ear first gets blocked, and then it gets sick, it is most likely otitis media. In this case, nasal drops will help to relieve the swelling of the auditory tube. Special drops can be dripped into the ear, but this is only if there is no discharge from it.
In general, when going on a hike in nature, be sure to take boric alcohol with you. Just remember that you need warm alcohol to drip into the ear, its temperature should not be lower than body temperature. To alleviate the patient’s condition, literally a few drops will be enough. But boric alcohol is only good for first aid. Then you must definitely see a specialist.
Compress is not a panacea
– And if you put a vodka compress on your ear at night, will it help?
– Compress is not a harmless procedure.Certain indications are needed for its appointment. Why is the compress applied? In order to improve blood circulation. But with an improvement in blood supply in the area of inflammation, we can get a double effect – either the inflammation will decrease, or, on the contrary, will only intensify. That is why, with purulent otitis media, the compress is contraindicated.
– We are talking more about adult patients, and if a child’s ear is sick, what to do?
– First of all, treat the infection that triggered this pain.In children, as a rule, purulent otitis media develop, and in most cases they are provoked by adenoids. In this case, drops in the nose and ear will help the child. But a specialist should select them.
How to get rid of a moth
– Let’s imagine another situation: an insect got into the ear. How to extract it from there?
– This is a very common phenomenon that we often encounter. The sensations when a moth flew into the ear canal or a bug crawled into the ear canal are very unpleasant.After all, insects begin to actively fight, trying to crawl out. The eardrum amplifies these sounds, and the person suffers greatly.
The main thing in such cases is to kill the insect. If there is no injury to the eardrum, use heated boric alcohol. Tilt your head towards the healthy ear and put three or four drops of alcohol into the affected ear. Keep your head in this position for seventy minutes, and then go to the nearest hospital to the doctor to remove the insect.
– Can’t it crawl out by itself?
– No.It must be washed out.
About geranium and garlic
– How do you feel about folk remedies that many people use in the treatment of ear diseases?
– More often than not, we have to deal with the negative consequences of such “treatment”.