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Ear Pain/ Ear Ache Causes


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    Ear Pain/ Ear Ache Causes

    "Ear ache" in adults is less likely to be from an ear infection. What you think is ear pain may actually be coming from another location, such as your temporomandibular joint, teeth, throat, or other location. This is called "referred" pain.

    Causes of "ear ache" may include:

    ► Acute ear infection

    ► Chronic ear infection

    ► Ear injury from pressure changes (from high altitudes and other causes)

    ► Object stuck in the ear or severely impacted ear wax

    ► Ruptured or perforated eardrum

    ► Ear pain in a child or infant may be due to infection

    ► Ear canal irritation from cotton-tipped swabs

    ► Soap or shampoo staying in the ear

    ► Ear cellulitis (skin infection)

    ► Eardrum infection (myringitis)

    ► External (outer) ear and ear canal infection (otitis externa), often called swimmer’s ear

    ► Mastoiditis (infection of the bone behind the ear that is often caused by spread of a middle ear infection)

    ► Middle ear infection (otitis media)

    ► Foreign body, such as ear wax or cotton-tipped swab. It is fairly common for toddlers and preschoolers to put small objects, such as beads, beans, and small parts from toys, into their ears.

    ► High altitudes or other pressure changes (barotrauma)

    ► Irritating substances, such as shampoo or soap

    ► Ear trauma or other injury


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    Re: Ear Pain/ Ear Ache Causes

    Causes of referred "ear ache" (secondary "ear ache" )

    Earaches can be caused by disorders, diseases and conditions that do not originate in the ear, such as:

    ► Acoustic neuroma (benign tumor)

    ► Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint

    ► Cancer of the head or neck

    ► Infant teething

    ► Infected tooth or other dental condition

    ► Laryngitis (infection or inflammation of the voice box)

    ► Recent tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils)

    ► Sinusitis (from infection or inflammation)

    ► Sore throat

    ► Teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism)

    ► Tonsillitis or peritonsillar abscess

    ►Trigeminal neuralgia



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    Re: Ear Pain/ Ear Ache Causes

    Complications of an "ear ache"

    ► Hearing loss (temporary or permanent)

    ► Recurrent ear infections

    ► Ruptured eardrum

    ► Spread of infection to the base of the skull and other surrounding structures and tissues

    ► Mastoiditis (infection of the skull behind the ear)

    ► Meningitis (infection in the tissues around the brain and spinal cord)

    ► Speech development problems in children

    ► Facial paralysis



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    Re: Ear Pain/ Ear Ache Causes

    Self-Care at Home

    "Ear ache" should be evaluated by a health care practitioner, but symptomatic treatment for pain and fever may be provided at home prior to the visit. Usually, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are appropriate to use, depending upon past medical history (for example, acetaminophen should not be used in people with liver disease and ibuprofen should be used with caution in those with kidney disease or who are taking anticoagulation medications). Remember that dosing for infants and children is based upon weight.

    Home remedies may include a warm compress to the ear to help with pain control. It is important to avoid burning the skin with the heat of the compress.

    Prevention of the "ear ache"

    The following steps can help prevent earaches:

    ► Avoid smoking near children. Smoking has been shown to cause millions of ear infections each year in children.

    ► Prevent outer ear infections by not putting objects in the ear, and drying the ear after bathing or swimming.

    ► Take steps to control allergies. In particular, avoid allergy triggers. Steroid nasal spray may help reduce ear infections. However, over-the-counter sedating antihistamines and decongestants do NOT prevent ear infections.



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