Chances are that at some point in your life you’ve suffered from ear pain (known medically as otalgia). In fact, studies show that tens of millions of Americans visit the doctor for ear pain every year! Although ear pain is most commonly associated with young children as a result of ear infections, the reality is that there are a variety of conditions that can result in ear pain and other unpleasant symptoms for patients of any age. Today we’re taking a look at some of the top causes of ear pain and walking you through at what point you should consider seeing your doctor for relief!
Common Causes Of Ear Pain
Almost all of us remember having an ear infection as a child, and that’s not surprising! Ear infections are the most common cause of ear pain, particularly among pediatric patients. They can occur in the inner, middle, or outer parts of the ear, but most commonly occur in the middle ear and result in pressure/fluid buildup within the ear, resulting in acute ear pain and discomfort.
It’s important to remember that in addition to ear pain, ear infections can cause a number of other symptoms as well. If your child seems off, keep an eye out for these other classic signs of an ear infection:
- Tugging or pulling at an ear
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
- Loss of balance
- Fever of 100 F or higher
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- Loss of appetite
Most ear infections in children will resolve themselves within about a week, but it’s important to help get your child some relief so that their daily life (and yours!) isn’t disrupted too much by uncomfortable symptoms.
Foreign Object In The Ear
Whether intentional or unintentional, a foreign object in the ear can go from mildly irritating to downright painful – and fast. This includes anything that enters the ear canal that shouldn’t be there, whether that’s debris that accidentally gets into the ear or a small toy your child was experimenting with! Most adults will be able to tell when something is lodged in their ear, but for children who aren’t as self-aware it might be difficult to identify this source of pain and communicate the cause with a parent, so you have to be extra diligent around little ones and seek medical attention if you suspect something like a lodged foreign object has occurred.
In most cases removing the item from the ear is fairly simple, but if left untreated this type of injury can lead to infection and even hearing loss.
If you experience pain in your ear, especially as an adult, there’s a good chance it may be related to your sinuses. Most people don’t realize this, but any condition that affects your sinuses can lead to ear congestion, resulting in that familiar “pressure” and pain within the eardrum. There are a number of things that can cause sinus-related ear pain, but some of the most common are:
- Pressure changes in the air (often associated with altitude changes such as those experienced while flying)
- Common cold
If your ear pain is related to an issue with your sinuses, the best course of action for relieving ear pain is to take efforts to reduce sinus congestion and sinus pressure.
When To See A Doctor For Ear Pain
Ear pain can be exactly that…painful! Although many sources of ear pain aren’t extremely dangerous, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you or your child are experiencing ear pain – especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like fever, fluid drainage from the ear, or dizziness – then you should set up an appointment with your doctor. Not only will they be able to determine the cause of your ear pain and make sure there’s nothing more serious at play, they’ll also be able to get you the treatment you need to relieve your pain and go about your daily life.
The benefit of being an ODC member is that you’re never charged for office visits, so if anyone in your family is suffering from ear pain then you can quickly and easily set up an appointment in-office or virtually with our doctors!
Ear Pain Prevention
Some earaches are preventable, and knowing how to get rid of ear pain will help when it comes to prevention. Measures like avoiding smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, not putting objects in your ear, and drying them after bathing or swimming will help prevent many ear pain issues! Also, avoiding allergy triggers like dust and pollen will help ease other problems that may lead to severe ear pain or ear infections.
Ear Pain Treatment In Orlando
Ear pain can happen to anyone at any point in their lives, but the good news is that most causes of ear pain are easily treatable! Here at ODC we understand just how much uncomfortable ear pain can be for children and adults alike, which is why our doctors work hard to quickly identify the source of your ear pain and come up with an effective treatment to not only manage your symptoms, but address the root cause.
If you or your child are suffering from ear pain, don’t hesitate to schedule a free office visit with us to discuss your symptoms, undergo any necessary tests, and get the treatment you need to start feeling like yourself again!