Earaches And How To Treat Them

A smiling doctor checks a boys lungs with a stethoscopeWere you aware that earaches could be brought on by any one of several different causes? Some of the factors could include conditions such as the common cold, sinus infection, impacted teeth, inflamed tonsils, nasal and pharynx infection, when the inner ear has been damaged or scratched by insertion of a foreign object and on occasion before a migraine occurs. An earache is essentially brought on by pressure and pain in the ear that usually occurs after either moisture or injury has caused the ear to become infected by bacteria which pushes against the eardrum. Usually if a cold or respiratory infection is at fault the Eustachian tubes have been blocked with mucus from the virus.

What are the Other Symptoms Associated With An Earache?

Some of the factors associated with earaches include:

Difficulty sleeping
Hearing difficulty
Ear Drainage
Limited desire to eat
Temporary mild hearing loss caused by effluvia
Draining of the ears
Pulling on the ears
Ringing in the ears

How Common are Earaches?

Earaches are most common in children and are one of the most troublesome aspects of getting a cold and other respiratory ailments at a young age. The Eustachian tubes are a pathway between the inner ear and the nasal passages and are often what causes a cold to work its way into the ear canal and create an earache. These tubes are narrower and smaller in children and so ear infections can be more common and more invasive for children. Swimmers are also at higher risk of developing earaches, also called swimmers ear, because the damp and wetness that can get in the ear while swimming are favorable for the growth of bacteria.

How Can Earaches Be Prevented?

Taking antihistamines during a cold can help keep the tubes from filling with mucus thereby preventing an earache
Avoiding putting foreign objects into the ear canal
Keeping ears clean and dry
Sleeping with the head propped up
Wearing earplugs while swimming

Effective Measures for Treating Earaches

There are a few home remedies that may help but be sure to have a doctor look at the ear if pain or other symptoms persist for more than about a week. Applying a warm washcloth, heating pad, cold compress or ice bag to the ear may help and taking a fever reducer like Ibuprofen or acetaminophen will reduce fever and inflammation. Unlike in the past, hearing loss or damage from an earache is unlikely unless the earache goes untreated.

Most doctors will prescribe a pain reliever and/or an antibiotic to treat serious ear infections. Typically Ibuprofen or acetaminophen is used for an earache that is accompanied by a fever of about 102 degrees or more. Generally, antibiotics are given to those who have an earache brought on by a bacterial infection rather than those brought on by cold and other respiratory viruses. Myringotomy (the process of having tubes put in the ears) may be necessary if the earache persists or is recurring.

Don’t let recurring earaches stop you from enjoying life to its fullest. Earaches are treatable; you shouldn’t have to suffer unnecessarily. Call us or make an appointment and we will do our best to attend to you as soon as possible and make your suffering a thing of the past!