When to Visit the Clinic – Ear Ache
Earaches are a pretty common thing, especially among young children. It is not limited to children only as adults too experience earaches. Earache may be sharp, dull or burning. It can occur in both ears, but most of the times it is usually in just one ear. Also, it may be constant or periodic. Bellaire ER characterizes ear aches as one of those conditions that warrant a visit to the clinic when experienced. The condition is supposed to be handled immediately to get rid of the irritation and discomfort and to prevent further complications from developing.
Signs of ear pain in children
While it can be quite obvious to know when your ear is aching, it is quite different for kids who cannot speak yet. You can know that your baby has an earache when you notice that they are fussy and irritable. Most cry while rubbing their ears. Other signs to that may indicate that your kid has an earache are if they are having trouble sleeping, a very high fever of more than 100 F, clumsiness, waking in the night, having difficulty hearing, loss of appetite, fluid draining from the ear and loss of balance.
For adults, the common symptoms are the sharp pain in the ear, a fluid discharge coming out of the ear and loss of hearing ability.
Causes of Earache
A temporary earache can be as a result of a change in air pressure or accumulation of ear wax. This often subsides after a while. The ear wax can be gotten rid of by simple waxing. This, however, has to be done carefully to prevent damaging of the eardrum and moving the ear wax far back inside making cleaning even more difficult. This could result in a chronic earache. A chronic earache can be as a result of a ruptured eardrum or tinnitus. It can also originate from a referred source. This is where the sensation of pain is felt inside your ears, but the source of the pain is another part of the body like the jaw area, the brain or the throat.
Another cause of chronic ear pain, although it is quite rare, is when your teeth and jaws experience a structural change. Presence of a foreign object in the ear, sinus infection, water or shampoo trapped inside the ear, tooth infection, temporomandibular joint syndrome, perforated eardrum, impacted tooth, trigeminal neuralgia or eczema are some of the other causes that may be the root to your earache problem.
Treatment for an earache
The main reason why it is important to visit a clinic to have your ear ache treated is that the treatment method to be employed will depend on the underlying cause of the pain. The doctor will perform a complete diagnosis to determine the cause of the problem. The main tests often conducted include:
This test involves the measuring of the eardrum movement. The device used seals the ear canal and adjusts the air pressure inside. This movement of the eardrum is monitored, and the pressure of the middle ear approximated.
The test examines the amount of sound reflected back to the device used from the eardrum. It is used to determine the measure of fluids present in the middle ear. The more the fluid pressure present, the more the sound reflected by the eardrum.
This is a procedure that involves the doctor puncturing the eardrum to drain the fluid in the middle ear for tests. This test is often performed when one doesn’t respond to treatment due to an infection.
Other tests may be performed to establish whether the pain is due to referred source or any other cause.
There are some treatment approaches that the doctor may take. The doctor may decide to take on the wait-and-see approach where they will administer painkillers and observe if the symptoms of the earache subside without treatment. If the condition does not improve, then they can administer treatment.
If the cause of the earache is an infection due to presence of bacteria, antibiotic therapy is administered. They can be oral antibiotics or eardrops. For cases where buildup of earwax is the main problem, the doctor can perform the ear cleaning professionally to avoid damaging your eardrum. Often people use ear pads to remove ear wax. If done carelessly, they can puncture their ear. Also, the use of olive oil and eardrops to get rid of the wax has to be done carefully. If your eardrum has been punctured and you end up using these cleaning materials, you may end up causing more harm than good.