From this article, you will learn about why ear pain symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Pain in the ear can be sharp and “shooting” or, conversely, muffled. Sometimes it hurts only on one side, and sometimes unpleasant sensations appear simultaneously in the left and right ear. Ear pain can occur not only with otitis media: in fact, it has many causes with similar symptoms, so the diagnosis must necessarily be made by a doctor.
If you have any unpleasant sensations in your ears, you can seek help from the medex Personal medicine clinic. The therapist will help you find the cause of the pain and make a treatment plan that will be effective in your case and fit into your lifestyle.
The main reason why severe pain in the ears can occur is hearing diseases, injuries, and other pathological conditions.
Acute pain can make itself felt:
- Otitis externa is the most mild form of otitis media, when the inflammation does not affect the eardrum and is localized in the external auditory canal. Such otitis develops when an infection is inadvertently introduced (for example, when cleaning the ears).
- Otitis media, in which the middle ear and eardrum become inflamed. Most often, otitis occurs against the background of angina, acute respiratory infections, sinusitis and other diseases of the ENT organs, because bacteria from the nasopharynx can also penetrate into the ear. In addition, a fairly mild external otitis can take the form of a medium one if it is not treated or done without the supervision of a doctor.
- Labyrinthitis, or internal otitis – is a dangerous complication that can occur with untreated otitis media. The infection affects the inner ear and vestibular apparatus, so in addition to pain, there is severe dizziness and nausea.
- A possible cause of ear pain in a child, and sometimes in an adult, is a foreign object that has entered the ear canal. You can not remove such an object yourself, because you can damage the eardrum and injure the ear canal. In this case, you need to urgently consult a doctor.
- The presence of a plug of earwax in the ear canal is a painful and unpleasant phenomenon, in which the accumulated sulfur presses on the eardrum. Trying to remove the plug yourself is not recommended: the doctor will do it much faster and safer. To prevent the formation of traffic jams, it is better to abandon cotton swabs, because when you try to clean the ear canal in this way, you risk “compacting” earwax.
- Acoustic trauma – stretching or even tearing of the eardrum from too loud sound. Such an injury can be obtained at work, at a concert, and in other situations.
- Barotrauma – damage to the hearing organs due to a sharp pressure drop, for example, during a flight. Additional signs of serious barotrauma, in addition to sharp pain – are ringing in the ears and dizziness. Some blood may leak out of the ear canal.
- Mechanical damage to the ear – if you hit or failed to clean the ear canal.
Other causes of ear and head pain
Sometimes the pain goes to the ear, but the real source of it is in another place and is not connected with the hearing organs.
This can happen, for example:
- When neuralgia of the trigeminal, facial or nasopharyngeal nerve;
- In case of sinusitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis – inflammation of the nasal sinuses or tonsils, and the pain experienced in the ears;
- For arthritis or injury to the jaw joint;
- With advanced caries or pulpitis of the extreme teeth from above or below, as well as with inflammation of the gums; reflected toothache increases if the affected tooth comes into contact with hot or cold food or if you deliberately press on it.
These conditions can be dangerous and also require medical attention, as well as problems directly with the hearing organs.
However, sometimes the cause of congestion and soreness in the ear can be quite harmless – for example, if water got into the ear canal when bathing, states Iytmed.com. In this case, try to actively chew food or dissolve a lollipop: when swallowing and moving the jaw, the pressure in the auditory canal returns to normal.
Sometimes ear pain in an adult or child is complicated by other unpleasant symptoms – be sure to tell your doctor about them at the reception, this will help you quickly find the cause of the pain and start treatment.
Diseases of the hearing organs can manifest themselves, in addition to acute pain:
- Feeling of ear congestion and partial hearing loss;
- Noise or buzzing in the ears;
- ear pain when you chew;
- Secretions from the ear canal (sulfur or pus may be released, depending on the type of disease);
- Itching in the ear, if we are talking about an infection of the external auditory canal;
- General malaise and weakness, as in colds and flu;
- Dizziness and nausea;
- Sensitivity and soreness in the area near the ears.
It is also important to inform your doctor about the nature of the pain: the affected ear may throb, shoot, or whine. Tell the specialist how the pain feels, how long ago it occurred – all this is important for making a diagnosis.
In which cases it is necessary to consult a doctor
Any discomfort in the ears can be a reason for contacting a therapist – this is the case when it is better to be safe and start treatment as early as possible if it is necessary. There are also special “alarm” signals, which are important to pay attention to in time.
It is recommended to make an urgent appointment with a doctor if:
- The pain in the ears is not dull, but “shooting” and quite strong;
- The first day has passed, and the pain does not become weaker and does not stop;
- The body temperature has increased – this indicates that there is inflammation in the body;
- Simultaneously with the ear pain, the head is spinning or aching;
- There was swelling around the ear;
- There was a feeling that somewhere deep inside the ear is rolling liquid: this is a sign of purulent inflammation;
- The pain was sharp, prolonged, and suddenly instantly passed – such a feeling can accompany a rupture of the eardrum with purulent otitis media.
The doctor will explain in detail how and how to treat a specific cause of ear pain at home, so that it is safe, effective and fits into your usual lifestyle. You may need drug therapy or consultation with a physiotherapist who performs treatment with ultrasound waves, microcurrents and other methods on modern equipment.
Some methods of home treatment can not only not help, but also seriously harm in diseases of the hearing organs. For example, if there is suppuration in the ear canal, it is impossible to warm up the diseased ear in any case – this is fraught with rupture of the eardrum and other complications.
You should not prescribe ear drops yourself either: you can get an allergic reaction and lose time on ineffective and inappropriate treatment. The only thing that is permissible to do before talking to the doctor is to take an antihistamine (for allergies) and drip vasoconstrictor drops into the nose. This is necessary to maintain normal pressure in the ear canal and relieve the condition. And everything else should be prescribed by the doctor after the examination.
Whether it is dangerous in your case to make compresses, what medications to take-only a qualified doctor with the results of the examination on hand can say for sure.
Another reason to be sure to see a doctor is that without proper treatment, otitis can give dangerous complications, for example:
- Inflammation of the inner ear (labyrinthitis) and infectious lesion of the vestibular apparatus;
- Damage to the auditory nerve and, as a result, irreversible deafness;
- Rupture of the eardrum due to pus accumulated in the middle ear;
- Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes of the brain, because it is caused by the same bacteria (for example, pneumococci).
At the same time, it is difficult to distinguish otitis media from other diseases: it has no specific symptoms, except for sharp shooting pain. And the reasons for such pain in the left ear or on the right side can be many.
It is very easy to make a mistake with the presumed diagnosis and lose time, because the ear can not be examined independently in front of a mirror from the inside, like a throat with angina. And the pathology continues to develop every hour and can become more dangerous. Therefore, the best way out is not to delay and immediately make an appointment with a doctor as soon as you notice the pain.