Ear pains can be unbearable and irritating making our daily life difficult for both adults and children. Mostly ear pains are caused due to bacterial infection; but in rare cases, it can happen because of some viruses too. Earaches usually occur in children but it can also cause infection in adults too. Infection in the ear can cause a wide range of symptoms including ear pain, impaired hearing, fever, difficulty in sleeping, and much more. Only by taking good and effective ear pain medicine can help in healing the pain.
Infection in the ear can also cause a sore throat, sinus pressure, and fever. The occurrence of ear infection in children is because of the reason that their immunity doesn’t fight bacteria and viruses effectively, and their ears don’t drain fluid easily like in adults. There can be many reasons for the ear pain in kids and adults; so, it is always advised to visit a nearby doctor to get right ear pain medicine once they develop pain in the ear and surrounding parts.
Types and Causes Of Ear Infection:
Ear pains are caused due to infection in the ear because of many reasons. Major infections arise in the outer, middle, and inner ear caused by bacteria, viruses, and sometimes yeast. There are chances for earaches to occur because of other reasons too which we will discuss in the upcoming sections.
- Outer Ear infections (otitis externa) are commonly known as Swimmer’s ear which usually occurs in swimmers. This is caused by a bacterial infection in the skin tissues covering the ear canal because of excessive immersion in water. Sometimes injuries happened while cleaning ear wax can also create an infection in the ear canal.
- Middle ear infection (otitis media) occurs just behind the eardrum with fluids being trapped in the hollow cavity adjacent to the facial bone. Frequent infections are a complication of the common cold in the children. Bacterial infection in the middle ear needs an antibiotic treatment while viral infection will resolve spontaneously on its own.
- An inner ear infection occurs due to the viral infection which causes inflammation of structures in the inner ear. The inner ear infection can largely affect the hearing and balance so this causes the symptoms such as dizziness, ringing in the ear, and imbalance. Inner ear infections are rare but if it occurs one should immediately seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Apart from infections caused by bacteria and viruses some other conditions can cause earaches, those includes:
- Trapped water in the ear
- Skin infection in and around the ear
- Allergic reactions by soap, shampoo, and earrings,
- Chronic conditions including temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Referred pain because of inflammation elsewhere in the body
- A popping sensation is caused due to pressure in-ear because of altitude change.
Medical Treatment For Ear Pain:
If the ear pain is caused because of bacterial or viral infection you have to consult a doctor immediately. The doctor might prescribe ear pain medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) which also helps to decrease fever. But for children, one should avoid giving Aspirin at all costs because it may cause a rare condition called Reye’s syndrome that creates a swelling in the brain and liver.
Sometimes doctors prefer to go with antibiotics in such cases follow the instructions accordingly and take all the doses regularly even after you or your children start to feel better. The complete course of antibiotic should be taken, if not the infection may reoccur and becomes more resistant.
In some cases, ear infections can cause complicated issues where the fluids remain in the ear for a long period and the infection keeps coming back again. In such scenarios, the doctor might proceed with a procedure called a myringotomy. The procedure is simple where the doctor makes a small hole in the eardrum so that the fluids like water, blood, or pus can drain out. Sometimes the doctor attaches a tube into the hole and lets the fluid out of the eardrum thus keeping the middle ear dry and clean.
This method reduces the pain and improves hearing also preventing future infections. When children get these tubes it is a surgery where they have to stay in the hospital for a few hours. While in adults this method barely takes minutes and can easily be done sitting in the doctor’s office. The attached tube would fall off within six to eighteen months automatically.
Home Remedies For Ear Pain:
If the ear pain is not unbearably high or the patient is about to take a treatment soon from a doctor then they can use the following remedies at home to reduce the pain temporarily with handy tips that can give huge relief.
- Apply a hot electric pad or hot pack and keep it over the ear and in the surrounding area near neck and throat for approximately twenty minutes. This method can largely reduce the inflammation and ache in the ear. The children should not be allowed to use hot pad by themselves it is always recommended to take supervision from an adult.
- Try wrapping ice cubes in a thin cloth and apply it to the ear and adjacent areas. Parents should not apply ice directly in the skin for treating earaches in children. Apply this method for over twenty minutes and try the heat and cold method alternatively for better relief.
- Gently massage the areas near ear and jaw to reduce the radiating pain. Massage in the downward motion starting from just behind the ear and move towards the neck by giving a gentle pressure. This method helps to drain excess fluid from the ear that causes ear pain.
- Garlic and onion can be used as a temporary relief method for ear pain. Cook two to three cloves of garlic in mustard or sesame oil and they strain the liquid. Just like garlic, cook the onion in the microwave for two minutes and strain the liquid. Apply a few drops of strained liquids into the ear and leave it for ten minutes. Later allow the liquid to flow out of the ear by tilting the head. This method should be done separately for garlic and onion and not together.
- Breast milk can be used as the best ear pain medicine because of its anti-microbial property. Allow few drops of breast milk into the ear and leave it for few minutes and remove it by tilting the head out of the ear.
- Sucking and chewing can greatly reduce pressure in the Eustachian tubes giving some relief from pain. Nursing babies can be encouraged to nurse as frequently as possible and adults can try candies and cough drops.
The ear pain can occur because of many reasons that can vary according to age, exposure to bacteria and virus, climate change, and many more. One should not avoid any symptoms related to ear as it can cause dangerous after-effects in the future once left unnoticed. Most of the ear infection usually occurs in young children as their body can’t fight against the harmful microbes. But that does not mean adults are not vulnerable to such infections.
If anyone feels agony and irritation in the ear they are advised to seek immediate medical consultation. Apart from simple home remedies for temporary relief one should not give or take ear pain medicine to children or for adults without a doctor’s prescription.