Ear ache or otalgia which is a common physiological problem may affect both children as well as adults. Arising on account of various physiological conditions; earache which can basically be divided into two types may or may not originate owing to the disorder of the ear or any of its part thereof.

Types of Ear Ache

  • Primary otalgia is directly involved with disorders affecting the inner, middle or the external ear.
  • Ear aches belonging to the category of secondary otalgia arise on account of malfunctioning of organs related to the ear.
  • With regard to the structure of ear, earache may be further categorized into three types-a) Ear ache related to the external ear; b) those related to middle ear; C) the ones related to inner ear.
  • Accordingly we have otitis externa, otitis media and myringitis.

Causes of Primary Ear aches

  • Bacterial or fungal infection affecting the external ear may cause earache.
  • Moisture trapped by the external ear may facilitate the growth and multiplication of the causative agents such as bacteria or fungus.
  • Minor injuries caused to the external ear by way of cleaning may also aid the contraction of infection leading to ear ache.
  • Causes leading to the pain of middle ear include the same being afflicted with viral and bacterial infection.
  • Allergic reaction of the same (middle ear) may also give way to aches.
  • Conditions such as hereditary tendencies towards contracting infection and anatomical defects of head and thoracic cavity may make one more susceptible to ear infections.
  • Inflammation or swelling of ear drum on account of viral and bacterial infection may also give way to earaches.
  • Trauma or physical injuries suffered may also make way for earaches

Causes of Secondary Ear Aches

  • As far as secondary ear aches are concerned cancer in the oral cavity may lead to earache.
  • Dental cavities affecting the molars may cause earache.
  • Physiological disorders such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis and cancerous conditions in the upper respiratory tract may cause earache.
  • Similarly cancerous conditions or carcinoma involving the laryngopharynx or esophagus may also make way for ear pain.

Symptoms of Ear Ache

  • With infection giving way to pain mostly the associated symptoms of swelling and redness are expected.
  • In some cases of infection involving the external ear; there may be a gradual occurrence of earache or itch.
  • The infection affecting children as well as adults may be marked by partial loss of hearing.
  • One may come under the effect of a blocked sensation with regard to the ear.
  • Fever and discharge from the canal rank amongst other effects of ear ache.
  • In extreme cases discharge from the canal may be smeared with blood.

Ear Ache Diagnosis

  • The process of diagnosing the cause, nature and extent of infection involves the detailed analysis of the case history.
  • By way of an instrument known as autoscope, a physician usually makes a thorough investigation of the canal so as to evaluate the cause of ear ache.
  • Autoscope is usually helpful in diagnosing and analyzing the composing parts of ear.
  • In cases of repeated attacks of infection, hearing tests serve to highlight the condition of the ear’s neural function.
  • In order to be doubly certain about the specific nature of virus or bacteria causing the infection; discharge from ear is taken for a detailed analysis of the same microscopically.
  • Diagnoses of earaches also involve the associated examination of throat.

Self Care for Ear Ace Prevention

  • Ear being one of the delicate organs serving the purpose of auditory sensation, needs specialized medical care and attention in cases of aches, infection and discharge.
  • Mode of treatment will depend upon the underlying source of ache. Owing to this physician needs to rule out the possibilities of cancerous growth leading to aches.
  • The associated symptoms of pain, fever and swelling may be treated with drugs containing paracetomol or ibuprofen.
  • However one needs to exercise caution as far as administering the mentioned ones to children and those afflicted with liver or kidney malfunction.
  • Most cases of ear aches are controlled by means of drops containing antibiotics.
  • The steroid content of the drops may also serve to reduce the effects of swelling.
  • Usually the drops are introduced through the canal by means of dropper or gauze with person infected lying on one side.
  • Depending on the nature and extent of infection or trauma leading to earaches, antibiotics meant for oral consumption may also be prescribed.
  • Cases of earaches and infection call for utmost care so that water or moisture is kept away from ear canal.
  • While bathing utmost caution should be exercised so that dryness of the passage may be maintained.
  • A plug of cotton may be used as a means of blocking the flow of water.
  • As one of the home based remedial options; warm compress applied by means of disinfected pad of clothe may prove to be relieving for instantaneous comfort from pain. But care should be taken to ensure that the compress applied is tolerably warm. At no time should the ear be exposed to extremes of temperature.