Ear problems may be caused by many different health problems. In children, ear pain is more likely to be a symptom of an inflammation, infection, or fluid buildup in the external or middle ear. But ear pain at any age may be a symptom of:
Ear problems caused by an injury to the ear can occur at any age. Common injuries include the following:
Hearing loss often comes with age. As people get older, ear problems are more likely to be related to:
The ear shares nerves with other parts of the face, eyes, jaw, teeth, and upper neck. Pain that feels as if it is in the ear may be coming from another part of the head or neck. This is called referred ear pain and is more common in older adults. Causes of referred ear pain can include dental problems, jaw pain (temporomandibular disorder), salivary gland infection, or a sinus infection.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Home treatment may be all that is needed to relieve minor or intermittent ear discomfort.
|Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:|
|Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
You may be able to prevent ear problems.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||January 12, 2012|
Last Revised: January 12, 2012
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.