Ear pain is a common symptom that can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, injuries, and allergies. It can be mild or severe, and it can range from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting pain.
Causes of ear pain
The most common causes of ear pain include:
- Ear infections: Ear infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. They are most common in children, but they can also occur in adults.
- Swimmer’s ear: Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal. It is caused by water getting trapped in the ear canal and creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Middle ear infections: Middle ear infections are infections of the middle ear. They are often caused by a cold or the flu.
- Barotrauma: Barotrauma is ear pain caused by a change in air pressure. It can happen when you fly, scuba dive, or drive up a mountain.
- TMJ disorders: TMJ disorders are problems with the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause ear pain, as well as jaw pain and headaches.
Symptoms of ear pain
In addition to pain, other symptoms of ear pain may include:
- Drainage from the ear
- Hearing loss
- Neck pain
Treatment for ear pain
The treatment for ear pain depends on the underlying cause. If the ear pain is caused by an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or ear drops. If the ear pain is caused by barotrauma or TMJ disorder, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and home remedies.
Home remedies for ear pain
There are a number of home remedies that can help to relieve ear pain, including:
- Applying a warm compress: A warm compress can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Apply a warm compress to the affected ear for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Elevating your head: Elevating your head when you sleep can help to reduce fluid buildup in the ear and relieve pain.
- Sucking on hard candy: Sucking on hard candy can help to stimulate the production of saliva, which can help to clear the ear canal and relieve pain.
If you have severe ear pain, or if your ear pain does not improve with home remedies, see a doctor.
Prevention of ear pain
There are a number of things you can do to prevent ear pain, including:
- Avoiding water in the ears: If you are prone to ear infections, avoid getting water in your ears. You can do this by wearing earplugs when swimming or showering.
- Drying your ears thoroughly: After swimming or showering, dry your ears thoroughly with a towel.
- Cleaning your ears regularly: Clean your ears regularly with a washcloth and warm water.
- Avoiding allergens: If you have allergies, avoid your triggers. This can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the ears.