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Earaches

Signs &

Symptoms

Causes

Treatment

Questions
to Ask

Self-Care /

Prevention

Illustration of ear.

•  Mild to severe ear pain.

•  Feeling of fullness or discomfort in the ears.

•  Tugging at the ear and restlessness in young children.

•  Ear pain.

•  Some hearing loss.

•  Blood or other discharge from the ear (especially after sticking an object in the ear or exposure to extremely loud noise).

Image of person with earache.

The most common cause of earaches is plugged Eustachian tubes. These go from the back of the throat to the middle ear. Fluid or pressure in a plugged Eustachian tube causes pain. This is caused by an infection of the middle ear, a cold or sinus infection, or allergies. Other things that can cause ear pain include changes in air pressure in a plane, something stuck in the ear, too much earwax, tooth problems, and ear injuries.

Image of doctor with patient.

Treatment includes pain relievers and methods to dry up or clear the blocked ear canal. Self-care can be used to treat many earaches. Severe and/or constant ear pain needs a medical diagnosis. Often, antibiotics are not needed for middle ear infections in children. About 8 in 10 children with ear infections get better without antibiotics. Let your child’s doctor decide if and when an antibiotic should be prescribed.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.

 

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