Ear Pain: Is it an Infection?

Get to the doc, doc.

Earaches are common in children, but you’re not exempt once you exit the teen years. Adults can get them too. While it’s common to equate earaches with infection, it’s not always a for-sure diagnosis. If there’s a sore ear in your house, it’s an ideal time to visit the ear infection specialists at the most convenient location of Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates

Chances are that your earache is something simple and short-lived, but treatment can speed recovery time and prevent complications.

When ear pain occurs

Usually, you experience pain in just one ear, but both ears can hurt at the same time. Sensations vary, from sharp to dull, throbbing to burning. Other symptoms may accompany the pain. You or your child could have trouble hearing, there may be an accompanying fever, and you may notice fluid leakage.

Your child may have an earache before they can articulate that their ear hurts. Common signs that they have a sore ear include:

When it’s an ear infection

The reason why children are more susceptible to earaches and ear infections traces back to their developing physiology. The eustachian tubes drain fluid from the middle ear into the back of the nasal cavity, but when children are young, these tubes are smaller, and with less downward slope. 

This results in less drainage efficiency, creating an environment that supports bacterial growth when the tubes become blocked.

While an adult’s eustachian tubes may also become blocked, it’s less likely since the tubes have reached full size and the drainage angle is steep. That’s why infections don’t occur as often, since the needed combination of conditions is harder to achieve.

Make an appointment with Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates for your child if their symptoms last longer than a day or two, or if the pain is severe. Any discharge from the ear is another sign that they need medical attention. If your earache begins to interfere with your daily responsibilities, it’s time for you to make an appointment. Antibiotics typically clear ear infections quickly.

Other causes of ear pain

Though ear infections are common, they’re not the only reason you might experience ear pain. A physical injury can cause pain that feels like an earache, and problems elsewhere may seem like they’re affecting your ear. A frequent contributor causing referred pain to the ear is pain originating in your jaw joint. Some other reasons your ears might hurt include:

Some of the causes of earaches might carry complications that could permanently affect your hearing, so while chances are good that you have merely a simple problem that’s easily cured, you should let a qualified otolaryngologist examine your ears. 

Call Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates in Lawrence or Ottawa, to schedule your appointment today. You can also send the team a message here on the website.

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