Earache is discomfort within or around the ear. Generally, the achiness might come and go or can be continuous. In addition, it can affect hearing and a sensation of pressure or blockage arises.
What are the possible causes?
Generally, an earache can be due to the following:
- Ear injuries
- Infection or disease in the outer or middle ear
- Earwax buildup
- Infection in the sinuses, nose, throat or mouth
- Presence of an object, growth or insect within the ear
- Jaw infection or injury
- Exposure to cold air or wind
- Issues with the teeth, usually in the upper molars
- Temperature changes such as spending outside in cold temperatures and moving inside a warm room
- Changes in the air pressure or altitude
- Teeth issues, usually in the upper molars
The usual cause of earache is a middle ear infection. Furthermore, the infection initially starts as common cold, throat infection of sinus infection.
Management of earache
In some cases of ear infections, antibiotics are required. The doctor will wait for 1-3 days to check if the symptoms settle on their own before prescribing an antibiotic.
Any foreign objects in the ear canal including the buildup of earwax must be removed by the doctor.
Other treatment options are based on the root cause of the earache. If the ear pain is due to temperature or air pressure changes, drinking fluids, chewing gum or sucking on candy can stop the aching sensation. Additionally, the pressure can be relieved by blowing out gently while keeping the mouth closed while the nose is pinched.