Signs and Symptoms of an Earache
An earache, also referred to as otalgia or otitis, is ear pain that can be either internal (affecting the middle ear, behind the eardrum) or external (affecting the ear canal).
Symptoms of an internal earache include:
- Ear pain
- A plugged sensation in the ear
- Hearing loss
- A buzzing or ringing sound
- Fluid discharge from the ear
Symptoms of an external earache include:
- Severe ear pain
- An itching sensation in the ear canal
- Hearing loss
- A buzzing or ringing sound
- Swelling of the ear
Causes of an Earache
The eustacian tube runs from the back of the throat to the eardrum and is responsible for regulating pressure or fluids in the ear.
Most internal earaches occur when this eustachian tube becomes congested, resulting in the buildup of mucus or pus behind the eardrum.
As fluid builds up, pressure occurs behind the eardrum, resulting in ear pain. This can often be caused by an existing cold or sore throat.
External earaches occur when moisture gets trapped in the ear canal, often as a result of swimming, bathing, or humid weather. Bacteria can then begin to grow in the moist environment, resulting in an infection. Ear canal infections can also occur from a break or scrape to the skin in the ear canal.
Most minor earaches which accompany a cold can be treated at home. However, sudden or severe earaches, or ear pain accompanied by neck stiffness, headaches, or fluid discharge from the ear should be diagnosed by a doctor. Similarly, earaches in infants require immediate attention by a medical professional.
Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Earaches
An excellent way to relieve an ear pain is to apply a warm compress against the ear.
Simply soak a small towel in hot water, ring it out, and then apply it directly to the ear.
When the towel begins to cool, simply soak it in hot water and then repeat the process.
You can repeat this throughout the day for some instant relief.
You can also wrap a towel around a small hot water bottle and use the wrap as a heated pillow for your ear when you lie down.
Decongestion to Treat an Earache
If your earache is due to severe nasal congestion, you can use some of our home remedies for nasal congestion in order to help reduce pressure on the eardrum. You can also try some commercial decongestants such as Sudafed.
Chewing Gum to Treat a Pressure Earache
Many people experience ear pain on airplanes as the pressure changes during takeoff or landing. Chewing gum during these pressure changes is a great way to activate the muscles that send air to your inner ear, which helps to balance pressure in the ear and reduce ear pain.
I have a plugged sensation in the ear for several days is there is any thing i can do to relive
I need help dear lord I feel like I'm going to die, the pain started on my flight to Cuba the one coming back, and its been 5 whole days since I have came back . I'm 13 and I'm terrified , please I don't want to have hearing loss it's almost unbearable.
Our sqdn flight surgeon recommends using Afrin-type decons one hour prior to the descent profile of flight. Generally, its not the eustacion venting on ascent but re-pressurizing on descent. Use a generous amount of spray such that it can be felt down the throat, ensuring that the eustacion gets treated. Its worked for me for over 4000 flight hours.
I have found that using a couple of squirts of any good commercial nose spray helps me when I fly. I used to get such horrible ear pain during the descent that I would almost cry in pain. It's best to use the nose spray while still on the ground, before you get onto the pressurized plane environment, but failing that, certainly before you take off. For some reason this really helps a lot!
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