What Causes Earaches?
Ear pain, usually referred to as an earache, is a common complaint and can result from infection, poor Eustachian tube function, or temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). Other causes include ear trauma, perforated eardrum, sinus infection, sudden changes in pressure, excess buildup of earwax, sore throat, shampoo or water in the ear, tooth infection, arthritis of the jaw, and a foreign object in the ear.
What Are the Symptoms of an Earache?
Ear pain is a pain in one or both ears that may be dull, sharp, or burning. It can be constant or intermittent and is most common in children. Symptoms will vary depending on the cause of the ear pain; however, symptoms may include redness, swelling, fever, fullness or pressure, itching, drainage, decreased hearing and tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears).
When Should You See an ENT?
If you are experiencing severe ear pain, dizziness, headache, a discharge of blood or pus from the ear, swelling and facial muscle weakness, seek medical attention. If pain does not dissipate in 24 to 48 hours or worsens, or your symptoms continue, see a doctor. A sudden decrease in severe pain also warrants medical attention, as it may indicate a ruptured eardrum.
How Are Earaches Treated?
Since there are many causes of earaches, treatment will depend on the cause. Treating the cause should relieve ear pain in most situations.
Reduce the Chance of an Earache
To help prevent earaches, refrain from inserting objects in your ears. Dry your ears thoroughly after bathing or swimming, avoid tobacco smoke, and reduce your exposure to allergy triggers such as pollen and dust.
Call Burlington Ear Nose & Throat at (319) 752-2725 for more information or to schedule an appointment.