The Basics of Ear Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Ear pain can affect children and adults, but it’s important to watch out for the symptoms and causes, so you can respond accordingly if your kids ever develop some form of ear problem. While ear infections are commonly associated with ear pain, there are many other possible causes for the pain, including:

Ear Trauma: If the eardrum has been injured, it can cause pain and discomfort. Common injuries that cause ear pain may include having your child’s ear pressed against a pillow, chewing on the ear, or anything else that might put pressure on the eardrum.

Ear infection: Ear infections are one of the most common causes of ear pain.

Injury: If you or your child had a head injury, that could cause pain or trouble hearing.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ear Pain?

The symptoms of ear pain can vary depending on the cause, but generally, the signs below are common side effects of ear problems: 

  • Headache;
  • Difficulty hearing;
  • Ringing in ears;
  • Dizziness;
  • Vertigo;
  • Ear drainage;
  • Fever;
  • Fussiness and irritability (in children);
  • Increased crying (in children);
  • Loss of appetite (in children);

How is the Cause of Ear Pain Diagnosed?

If you think your child may have an ear infection, you will want to see your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will first look inside the ear with an otoscope. Then, they may also:

  • Test hearing to determine if it is affected;
  • Take a blood test;
  • Re-examine the ear using an instrument that may show fluid;
  • Order a computed tomography (CT) scan of the ear; 

If the doctor is concerned about infection, they will probably prescribe antibiotics. Your doctor may also want to see you again in a few days if the pain persists or gets worse to make sure the infection is getting better.

Common Causes of Ear Pain in Children 

Children with ear pain should be seen by a doctor who can examine the ear and determine the cause. Most ear pain stems from a blockage in the ear’s eustachian tube, though some other culprits behind the discomfort include the following: 

  • Allergies;
  • Sinus infection;
  • Sore throat;
  • Tooth infection;
  • A buildup of earwax;
  • Ruptured eardrum;
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ, or problems with the joint that connects your jaw to the side of your head);

Treating Ear Pain in Children

If you think your child may be experiencing ear pain, call your pediatrician right away. While you may want to give your child over-the-counter pain medications, you should always check with your doctor before administering any medications. The doctor may recommend that your child take OTC painkillers, like ibuprofen, or they may prescribe something stronger if your child is uncomfortable.

The Bottom Line: Ear Pain in Kids and What You Should Do 

Ear pain can be a common problem in children, but it’s important to seek the proper medical assistance your kids need, so they can get the ideal treatment. It’s especially important to call your doctor if the ear pain is accompanied by a fever, hearing loss, worsening ringing sound, or ear drainage.

Are You Looking for the Best Kids Urgent Care? 

Parents want nothing but the best for their kids; that’s why it’s only right to treat their discomfort from injuries or illnesses at the best urgent care for children in Orlando, FL. We offer 24/7 medical services, so you don’t have to worry about rushing to the emergency room when your child gets sick after-hours. 

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