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Last Updated Thursday April 27 2017 09:41 AM IST

All you need to know about ear pain

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Ear pain

Ear pain is more prevalent among children as compared to adults. UK’s NHS survey reveals that ear pain is the reason for most number of emergency treatments for children. Ear pain manifests itself in varied forms. The pain can be felt continuously or intermittently; sometimes as a throbbing pain and sometimes one experiences excruciating pain. Pain can be felt in either of the ears or both ears.


Infants, unlike the adults, may not be able to tell when they are in pain. Here are a few symptoms from which we can assume that they are experiencing ear pain:

» Non-stop crying, especially during night

» The baby is uneasy and is unable to sleep

» Lack of appetite; the baby refuses to breast feed.

» Fever, common cold, inflammation in the ear, hearing difficulty

» The baby tries to grab its ear.

» The baby screams when you touch the ear.

» Vomiting and imbalance

Ear pain

Here are some ear diseases that are painful:

Acute Otitis Media: It occurs when the baby has hay fever and the infection in the nose and throat spreads to the baby’s ear. If the infection is intense, the baby is at risk of perforation of the ear drum with pus oozing out accompanied by hearing difficulty.

External Otitis: Furuncles on the follicles or swelling on the skin can be the causes. The patient experiences intense pain while chewing or when moving the upper ear.

Otomyiosis: Persistent dampness in the ear canal is the main reason. In this condition, pain is accompanied by severe itching. The viral infection is mainly caused by the herpes virus. Furuncles and pain on the outer ear are the main symptoms. Intense version of Otomyiosis can result in a nervous breakdown.

Earwax: In usual cases of earwax accumulation, one normally experiences blockage and hearing difficulty. Meanwhile, you can also experience pain when the ear canal gets filled with earwax.

Buds and earwax: Earwax is a waxy substance secreted by the glands in the ear canal. For most people, earwax is naturally expelled in the course of time. Cleaning the ear with ear-buds is a common misconception. In fact, the use of buds causes adverse effect. Not only does it hinder the outward movement of earwax, but also makes the earwax pile on in the ear canal.

Bruise in the ear: Inflammation can develop in the minor wounds in the ear. Bigger impacts on the ear can cause perforation in the ear drum, and blood collection on the rear of the upper ear.

Insects: Should never try to catch the insect caught in the ear alive. Immediately kill it by dripping some water or oil into the ear, and seek a doctor’s assistance.

Ear pain


The ear canal and ear drum are examined using an Otoscope. The ear drum, when infected, appears red and swollen.


» Apply a warm compress to the ear for temporary relief. Take pain relievers.

» For inflammation in the middle ear, you need to take a few antibiotics. You should not discontinue the intake before the course completes even if your feel relieved. Otherwise, it can result in the spreading of the inflammation.

» For inflammation in the ear canal, clean the ear removing fungus and earwax, and apply ear drops.

» Diabetic patients must bring their sugar levels down, and start antibiotic treatment.

Ear pain

» In case of a perforation of ear drum caused by a severe impact, do not use ear drops. Ensure that the affected area does not come in contact with water and dirt. 90 percent of cases will heal themselves.

» As for children, start treating common cold and tonsillitis at the earliest.

» Never use ear buds.

Facts to watch out for

Seek the advice of a doctor immediately if you experience the following conditions:

» The patient will not be relieved of the pain (inflammation is likely to increases) even after a few days of the treatment.

» Pain, which was relieved at the onset of the treatment, recurs. Blockage of the ear persists. These are indications that the treatment is not effective.

» Severe ear pain for diabetic patients

» Severe headache, persisting pain, vomiting, giddiness, facial spasms and double vision

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