Ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists handle a variety of problems. Among children, earaches are among the most common conditions affecting them. Adults, too, can suffer from this health problem, but children tend to get earaches more frequently. This includes infants and not simply school age children.
What Are Ear Aches?
As the name suggests, an earache is a condition that causes pain inside the ear. It may be a mild ache or a more severe pain. You or your child may require medical attention is the pain is severe and is accompanied by other symptoms including:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Swelling around the ear
- Discharge from the ear e.g. mucus or blood
These may indicate the potential of a ruptured eardrum.
Common Causes of Ear Aches
The causes of earaches vary. Anything that creates the conditions for a buildup of fluid in the middle ear can result in an earache. Earaches are often the result of any of the following occurrences:
- Ear Infection: This is the most common reason you or your child may have an earache. Although otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear), is the major cause of infection, the basis of the problem may differ. The medical condition may be the result of a viral or bacterial infection. Bacterial infections are easily treated with antibiotics; viral infections are not.
- Earwax Buildup
- Employing Cotton Swabs: Cleaning the ears with this or other devices, may damage the ear or create conditions causal factors in earaches. Never use sharp devices or anything that may harm your ears
- Foreign Object in the Ear
- Pressure Changes: When you fly, the pressure may alter. This can result in a shift in fluid creating the conditions for an earache. The same may apply for climbing and other changes in altitude
- Sinusitis: Infection of your nasal cavities or sinuses
- Strep throat
- Water Trapped in the Ear: Any water or water-based product e.g. shampoo, that becomes trapped in the ear can create the discomfort known as earaches. Water may become trapped in your inner ear if you swim regularly. Infection may result if the water remains inside for an extended period or the water is contaminated with bacteria or other toxins
Many of these problems can occur during the course of your day. If you seem prone to earaches, it is important you take precautions to decrease the number of incidents. Be careful when you wash your hair and wear a swim cap or ear plugs if you swim. Talk to your doctor or ENT specialist about any measures you can take to reduce your risk of the pain from earaches.
Contact us at 212-867-4813 to schedule a consultation.