What is an Earache?
An earache is a term used to describe multiple causes of pain in the ear in both adults and children. Although children are more likely to get earaches and ear infections than adults, people of all ages and lifestyles can be affected by an earache. An earache can affect one or both ears and can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Ear pain
- Difficulty hearing
- Drainage from the ear
In children who are unable to express their symptoms, additional signs of an earache could include:
- Difficulty responding to sounds
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pulling on the ear
- Acting more irritable than normal
What Causes Earaches?
Ear pain and earaches can be caused by several factors, but the most common one is an ear infection. The outer, middle, and inner ear can all become infected to varying degrees of severity. Infection of the outer ear is caused by fluid retention (frequently from swimming), irritation from cotton swabs or scratching, or wearing earbuds or hearing aids that damage the skin of the ear.
Middle and inner ear infections are less common and are often caused by fluid buildup leading to a breeding ground for bacteria from upper respiratory tract infections.
Non-infection causes of hearing aids include:
- Sudden change in pressure
- Earwax buildup
- Sinus infection
- Perforated eardrum
- Infected or impacted tooth
What to Do for an Earache
Sometimes earaches can be treated effectively at home, using some of the following techniques:
- Avoiding getting the ear wet
- Using over-the-counter ear drying drops
- Taking pain relievers
If these solutions don’t work, you’ll likely need a prescription from your doctor. Medical treatment for earaches could be antibiotics, prescription ear drops, or both. For ear infections caused by earwax buildup, you may be given wax-softening eardrops to help the wax fall out.
Other causes of earaches will be addressed by your doctor if necessary.
Earaches and Hearing Loss
Since one of the symptoms of earaches is hearing difficulty, a common question is whether ear infections are linked to hearing loss in children or adults. In cases that are treated quickly, there are often no permanent consequences in terms of the person’s long-term hearing ability.
However, middle ear infections in young children that cause hearing difficulty could affect their lives in a different way. Infants and young children are in a vital stage of learning and development, and any prolonged hearing loss could have unknown effects on their mental processing capabilities. This is why seeking a doctor for ear pain is so important; the diagnosis is often ear infection, but hearing difficulty could be the sign of something else going on that may affect a person’s hearing if it’s not treated.
Hearing Loss Resources in Georgia
If you or a loved one has recently experienced a sudden change in hearing ability, and may potentially need some sort of assistive device to help them maintain their lifestyle, the Georgia Hearing Aid Factory Outlet is here to help. With three locations throughout Georgia, we’re a leading provider of hearing aids of all styles and price points for patients in cities such as Athens, Big Canoe, Sandy Plains, and more. Come talk to us today or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you hear better.