Ear pain and earaches are most common in young children. Children between the ages of three months to three years are especially vulnerable. However, ear pain can occur in adults, as well. An earache may range from constant pain or pain that comes and goes, but any kind of ear pain can cause serious disruptions to your day.
A common earache may be dull, sharp, or even feel like a burning sensation. If left untreated, earaches can become more painful and result in issues such as having pressure in the head and ears or sinus problems. That’s why it’s important to know the common causes of ear pain and when to contact a doctor.
What Causes Earaches?
1. Ear Pain Caused by Infections
The first common cause of having earaches is an infection. However, there are different types of infections. These infections have varied symptoms that may range from simple ear pain to loss of hearing, dizziness, and more. These infections also correspond to different parts of the ear and include:
- Outer Ear Infection
Commonly referred to as swimmer’s ear, this infection is the result of getting water in the ear from swimming or bathing, but can also occur from wearing hearing aids or headphones. Since water weakens the skin of your ear canal, it becomes the perfect scenario for bacteria to grow and prosper.
- Middle Ear Infection
Usually, the result of infections from a respiratory tract infection, a middle ear infection causes fluid to build up behind the eardrums. This, in turn, can lead to harmful bacteria developing.
- Inner Ear Infection
Sometimes identified as labyrinthitis, an inner ear infection is generally caused by a respiratory illness resulting in bacterial or viral infections.
Unlike other ear pain causes, infections can be long-lasting and may require a patient to seek specific treatments to relieve their ear pain.
2. Common Causes of Ear Pain That Aren’t Infections
Ears can be very sensitive and if you’re suddenly experiencing earaches, there may be a simple cause. Here are some common reasons for an earache:
- A change in pressure when flying on a plane or traveling to the mountains
- Strep throat
- Water or shampoo in the ear that doesn’t result in a swimmer’s ear
- Earwax buildup
- A foreign object in the ear or the use of cotton swabs when removing ear wax
All these are common reasons why you might be experiencing ear pains and they are often temporary. If the condition worsens, however, consulting your doctor is very crucial.
3. Less Common Causes of Ear Pains
The most common causes of ear pains are the result of infections or temporary issues such as a buildup of pressure or allergies. However, sometimes an earache can be the result of less common reasons, which may include:
- Having a perforated eardrum
- An infected or impacted tooth
- Arthritis that affects the jaw
- Your ear canal has eczema
- A disorder known as trigeminal neuralgia, resulting in chronic facial nerve pain
- Having temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
Learn more about how to resolve ear pain with help from our experienced doctors at Glatz Group!
Earaches may be temporary and can vanish without any treatment. However, if your ear pain persists or worsens, then seeing an ENT doctor is recommended.
Our doctors at Glatz Group! are experienced in treating ear pains and infections. Whether you require sinus drainage, balloon sinuplasty, or something else, we’re here to help.