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Overview

Ear Pain: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Ear pain is a fairly common ailment that affects millions of people and is the most common in children. There are two types of ear pain that come with this ailment. The first is the actual pain which occurs deep within the ear. The second is the referred pain which occurs outside the ear and alerts you to the fact that something is not quite right. Ear pains can vary in their severity, with some being a gentle throbbing pain and others being so severe that it becomes difficult to walk. Fortunately, this extremely common malady has effective treatments. There are specific medicines and ear drops that are available in the market and are meant to combat ear pain. These medications often have a dual effect – they get rid of the pain that you are experiencing while also getting rid of the underlying infection that is causing that pain in the first place. Therefore, these treatments are highly effective. Your doctor will recommend the medication that you should be using as there are plenty available in the market and you will need to take your allergies into account before using any medicine. It is important to note that ear pain can sometimes be cause by other underlying conditions such as sinusitis, problems in your teeth, an infection in your nose or the pharynx, cancer in your throat, or an aura that comes right before a migraine. This is why it is important to not solely rely on home remedies for ear pain and to visit your doctor in a timely fashion.

How is the treatment done?

Visiting an ENT specialist (ear, nose, throat) is the first step in ensuring that the treatment occurs. The doctor will first use an otoscope or an auriscope to have a look inside your ear. This will help determine the exact cause of the pain. Sometimes, the answer can be fairly simple, such as a blockage created due to too much ear wax, and the treatment, which includes cleaning the ear, can be administered immediately. This is followed by pain relief almost immediately or within a day. However, ear pain can also be caused due to an infection and this is where the treatment steps tend to vary. Your doctor is most likely to ask you to lie down on your side to let gravity do its magic while he or she uses an ear drop. The drops are administered internally in the ear and do not cause any pain. If you have a large amount of swelling or any abscess in the area, your doctor may use gauze to first assess the damage, and then clean it up before administering the drops. Some doctors prefer oral medication and if that is the case with your doctor, you’ll leave the clinic with a prescription and will be asked to take a certain dosage for a set number of days. The ear canal has to be kept dry during the treatment and you may be given a plug of sorts to apply to your ear when you bathe.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Anyone who is experiencing any amount of pain in a single ear or both ears is eligible for the treatment. There is no stipulated time period for which you must wait to see if things worsen. The minute you feel the pain and want to get it treated, you can visit your doctor.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If your ear pain is caused due to underlying problems with your jaw, a migraine, cancer, sinusitis, or any infection in the nose or throat, you may not be eligible for ear pain treatments as the pain you are experiencing in your ear is mainly referral. It indicates that there is a problem in your body, but since the problem is not in your ears, administrating ear drops or having oral medications for ear pain are pointless.

Are there any side effects?

As is the case with most medications, there are certain side effects that you should be vary of. If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics to treat your ear infection, you can expect a mild fever to develop as most antibiotics raise the temperature of your body. Thus, it’s nothing to be alarmed about. Some ear drops can lead to drowsiness and should not be taken right before performing physical activities or driving as that can be highly dangerous. Such drops are usually meant to be administered at night when you can fall asleep without worry. If you are allergic to any substance, it is best to discuss that with your health care provider so that he or she can administer medication that does not contain the allergen.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are no specific post treatment guidelines for ear pain, although there are guidelines that you must follow while the treatment is going on. The most important guideline is to ensure that your ears do not get wet in any circumstance. This is because it can cause the infection to spread and can also contribute to further pain and blockages. It is also generally advised not to sit in a flight or travel to high altitudes that will make your ears pop as your ears are generally sensitive during this time period and any random stimulus can increase your recovery time if you are not careful.

How long does it take to recover?

Most ear pain treatments last anywhere between 7-10 days. As you continue to take your medications, you will notice a gradual decrease in your symptoms or your pain on a daily basis until the whole thing is gone. If your ear pain is caused due to any other condition that you may be suffering from, then it takes much longer to recover. Until that condition is treated completely, the referral pain in your ear may not completely go away.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Ear drops are quite affordable in India. They range in price from Rs 30 to Rs 100, depending on the medication you are prescribed. The same goes for any oral medication that you might be taking in order to treat ear pain.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Treating your ear pain can be permanent. In some case, ear infections do reoccur however, those infections are usually looked upon as a fresh infection rather than the same one coming back again. If your ear pain is the result of a different condition you may have, treating the pain alone will only work for a short period of time. Whether it takes days or weeks, the pain is bound to return to alert you of whatever condition you may be suffering from. Generic ear pain treatment results are normally permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are many home remedies and alternative treatments that can be used in order to treat ear pain. Some of these are quite common and many people resort to using them before seeing a doctor. One popular home treatment is to apply a cold or warm compress to the ear to do away with the pain. Some people drop a few drops of olive oil into their ears while others drop tea tree oil. This is because both these oils have antibacterial and antibiotic properties and are great for fighting any infection that might be causing the pain. If your ear pain is caused due to a muscular problem, you can perform neck exercises to make it better. Some people use ginger or garlic to gain relief from their symptoms as well. Hydrogen peroxide is another common household remedy for ear pain, followed by brandy (administered in the ear, not swallowed). Though many home remedies are known for being successful, it is worth mentioning that it is always better to consult with a health care professional before administering any treatment as you may end up worsening the symptoms. As ear pain can be indicative of other ailments, it is in your best interests to get checked out by a doctor.

Safety: High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: High Relative Risk: Medium Side Effects: Medium Time For Recovery: High Price Range: Rs. 30 - Rs. 100

Popular Health Tips

Meniere's Disease - What Is The Right Way To Manage It?

MBBS, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Ghaziabad
Meniere's Disease - What Is The Right Way To Manage It?

Meniere’s disease is a condition of the middle ear, the exact cause of which is not known. If often affects one ear and affects adults who are aged over 40. It is diagnosed by few characteristic symptoms:

There could be periods of dizziness, where the patient falls, known as “drop attacks.” These attacks are followed by long periods with no symptoms whatsoever. It is unpredictable and so a patient can never really be prepared for an attack. While it is not easy to diagnose the condition, doctors do a detailed history to confirm the diagnosis. Hearing test, CT scan, and MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Management: There is no definitive treatment for this condition. However, various options have been proposed, and many people have found them to be helpful. Some commonly used measures including diet and cognitive therapy are listed below:

  • Medications: There is no medication to attack the root cause. Medicines are used often to control dizziness, which is the most irritating symptom of this condition. Meclizine and diazepam are often used. In some people, gentamicin or corticosteroid injections are used. However, long-term use of gentamicin can cause hearing loss.
  • Salt restriction: Reducing salt intake indirectly reduces the fluid retention in the body, which helps manage the blood pressure and vertigo
  • Dietary changes: When a detailed history is taken, there are patterns which indicate that increased caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol worsen the symptoms. These are reduced with an intent to reduce the symptoms
  • Pulse treatment: A pulse of air is pushed through to the inner ear, which helps in symptom relief. This device fits into the outer ear, and when the pulse of air is pushed through, it improves fluid circulation within the middle ear, which is believed to be a cause for the condition.
  • Surgery: As a last resort, some surgical options are used:
    • A shunt is placed in the middle ear to drain out the excess fluid and maintain balance.
    • Labyrinthectomy may also be done to reduce symptoms, which may also involve removal of the eighth cranial nerve, which is believed to be the cause.
    • Hearing aids can be used if the hearing loss is severe.
    • Alternative medicines including acupressure and acupuncture are proven to reduce symptoms in some people.
    • Herbs like gingko biloba and ginger root have also been used, not with proven effect though.
  • Prevention: When possible, avoid
    • Driving
    • Operating heavy machinery
    • Swimming
    • Use of ladders
    • Being on terraces without somebody supervising

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3305 people found this helpful

Outer Ear Infections - Tips To Deal With Them!

MS - ENT, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
ENT Specialist, Ghaziabad
Outer Ear Infections - Tips To Deal With Them!

Outer ear infections can be caused by bacteria, virus, or yeast. Also known as swimmer’s ear, as it is very common in swimmers who keep their ears immersed in water for prolonged periods of time. It can also occur when the skin in the outer ear gets infected due to regular use of cotton buds to remove wax. Though it is very common in children, it can be seen in adults too.

The first step in managing an outer ear infection is to identify it.

  • A dull, nagging pain in the outer ear is one of the first symptoms of an outer ear infection. Worsening of the pain when the ear is pressed is confirmatory of the infection. In some people, the pain could even spread to the rest of face, along with the cheeks or down the neck.
  • Foul-smelling, yellow or green drainage is an indication of outer ear infection. The person could feel that the ear is constantly moist.
  • This can be along the ear canal or in the outer ear skin.
  • Mild hearing loss, which if untreated, can be progressive.
  • Redness of the skin around the ear(s).
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes at the base of the jaw.
  • General symptoms of an infection including fever, lethargy, reduced energy levels, and overall tiredness.

Management:

Do not treat ear infections on your own. The actual agent causing the infection needs to be identified and treated accordingly. A bacterial infection may require a course of antibiotics, a viral one should be watched and allowed to run its course.

 

  1. Visit a doctor: They will check and confirm the infection.
  2. Ear cleaning: Cleaning the ear with either a suction or a curette. In some cases, there could be hardened wax which needs to be removed to get relief from the infection.
  3. Antibiotic drops: Either neomycin or ciprofloxacin is used in most cases.
  4. Acetic acid drops: This helps in keeping the bacterial population intact in your ears.
  5. Antibiotics: In severe cases, oral antibiotics may be required. Painkillers like ibuprofen may be also taken if the pain is unbearable.
  6. Saltwater: A home-made solution of vinegar and water or diluted saltwater provides great relief from ear infection symptoms.
  7. Heat pads: A warm, wet cloth applied on the cheek near the ear can provide great relief. It is advisable to sit when the heat pad is being applied to avoid burns.
  8. Preventative ear drops: When going for swimming long duration, OTC ear drops can be applied to provide relief.
  9. Avoid swimming: When the infection has set in and you begin to notice symptoms, avoid swimming for a few days.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2704 people found this helpful

Recurring Middle Ear Infections - Know The Signs Of It!

MSc - Audiology, BSc - Speech & Hearing
Audiologist, Ghaziabad
Recurring Middle Ear Infections - Know The Signs Of It!

Middle ear infection, also called Otitis media, is an infection due to bacteria or virus behind the eardrum. It is an inflammation of the middle ear, seen mostly in children. There is an area behind the eardrum, which has small vibrating bones. This kind of an infection happens usually in early spring or winter seasons. Usually, it does not need any kind of treatment, but since it is a recurring infection, it is always good to consult a doctor.

Symptoms of middle ear infection
Once the symptoms start appearing, the chances of infection are very fast. Here are some of the symptoms that you should watch out for:

  1. Severe ear pain, especially when you are sleeping
  2. Sleeplessness
  3. A flow of fluids from the affected ear
  4. Diminished hearing
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Headache
  7. High fever
  8. Difficulty in hearing
  9. Excess crying in case of children

When you feel that the symptoms are unbearable and last for a very long time, you should consult a doctor immediately.
Causes of recurring middle ear infection

  1. Any virus or bacteria in the ear
  2. Any other types of illness
  3. Cold, allergy, or flu
  4. Swelling in the nasal passage

Treatment for recurring middle ear infection:
You should first see an ENT specialist for any kind of infection in your ears. There are many different kinds of treatments available for a middle ear infection. In most of the cases, the treatment will be decided based on the age, medical conditions, and present health condition of the affected individual.

A doctor will also take into consideration the following two factors:

  • How severe is the infection?
  • Will you be able to tolerate the dose of antibiotics?

For babies between the age of 6 months to 23 months, this kind of middle ear infection usually goes away in just 48 hours. So, it is always good to wait. For adults, most of the time, antibiotics are prescribed. Doctors suggest warm compress for kids as it is not healthy to give them pain medication. But in case the pain is not tolerable, a mild dose of pain medication is suggested along with a warm compression. Adults can take pain medication. Smoking should strictly be avoided when you are having a middle ear infection. Even passive smoking can be painful. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry; so talk to the doctor immediately, if the ear pain in kids lasts for more than 48 hours.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2442 people found this helpful

Adenoids and Endoscopic Adenoidectomy!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery, Diploma In Otorhinolaryngology (DLO), DNB - ENT, Allergy Testing
ENT Specialist, Gurgaon
Adenoids and Endoscopic Adenoidectomy!

Adenoids are part of the ENT (ear-nose-tongue) area. They are basically lump of tissues situated at the back of the nose and higher up in the throat passage. Along with tonsils, they form a part of the lymphatic system and are also known as pharyngeal tonsils. They work in conjunction with tonsils to keep infections and viruses at bay. They also help in maintaining the body fluid balance.

Adenoids mostly occur in children. They basically start to grow from birth and can become enlarged between the ages of 5 to 7 years. They become swollen by fighting some bacteria or virus. However, by teenage years they start to shrink and completely disappears by adulthood. They do not help in fighting diseases and the body develops other ways to fight germs and bacteria.

Problems Caused by Adenoids:
Although adenoids are not harmful, they can become enlarged or swollen when fighting bacteria or viruses. In such situations, it is best to consult pediatric or ENT specialists. However, there are certain symptoms that occur in children:

  1. Breathing problems- Children may experience difficulty in breathing through the nose. Instead, they breathe through the mouth which might lead to dry mouth resulting in bad breath and cracked lips.
  2. Sleeping problems- Children having swollen adenoids having difficulty in having sound sleep. They might snore or experience sleep apnea (irregular breathing or might stop breathing for few seconds).
  3. Ear infections- Have ear infections and even develop glue ear (the ear duct is filled with fluids).
  4. Sinus problem- Your child may experience runny nose or facial pain.

Diagnosis
If your child is experiencing the above symptoms and having difficulty breathing, its best to visit an ENT specialist to get the adenoids checked out. The adenoids cannot be seen through normal eyes and has to be examined using special methods like endoscopy. An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a light, it is inserted through the mouth and the image of the inside of the mouth is seen on a screen.

Treatments for Adenoids:
Depending on the severity of the adenoids, it can be treated with nasal sprays or drops and antibiotics suggested by a doctor. If the adenoid does not shrink or the problem persists, it’s best to go for adenoidectomy.
What is Adenoidectomy? Adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of adenoids. It is generally performed by an ENT surgeon and carried out through the mouth under general anesthesia. The whole operation only requires a day. Your child is released at the end of the day.

Recovery:
After the surgical procedure, your child may experience:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Ear ache
  3. Stiff jaw
  4. Runny nose
  5. Bad breath

All of these difficulties pass away within a week or two. However, you should be careful as there is always a risk of infection after an operation. In case of excessive bleeding, known as hemorrhage, your child may need another surgery where the bleeding is stopped by cauterization.

Moreover, food and drink should be monitored carefully. As your child will have difficulty in swallowing food, it’s best to have fluids like soups or yoghurt. Remember to give them plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Adenoids are not scary diseases. So don’t be scared and give your child all the care and support when they are facing difficulty in breathing or sleeping.

1 person found this helpful

Beware Of These Complications Of An Ear Infection!

DNB (ENT), MBBS, MNAMS - Otorhinolaryngology
ENT Specialist, Gurgaon
Beware Of These Complications Of An Ear Infection!

Ear infection is caused when viral or bacterial infection affects the middle ear which in turn leads to inflammation and accumulation of fluid behind your eardrums. Although anyone can encounter an ear infection, it is one of the most common conditions observed in infants. The initial symptoms may include fever, pain in the ear, release of pus from the ears, and a persistent throbbing in the ear. Ear infection can be very painful and troublesome if not treated soon enough. National Institute of Health reports that in most cases the infection disappears on its own without much trouble, but in rare occasions they may leave you with adverse complications that you must be aware of.

  1. Hearing impairment- If you suffer from a chronic ear infection or if the infection has recurred after the treatment, you can face problems hearing. As we know, the infection occurs when fluid accumulates in your middle ear. If the fluid is not completely drained out, it may result in partial hearing loss. On the other hand, if the fluid remains trapped inside the ear for long it will harm the eardrums and the surrounding bones permanently, eventually leading to permanent hear loss. This condition poses far more a serious threat to infants as they are at risk of language and speech development delays as a result of hearing impairment.
  2. Ruptured eardrum- Rupture in the eardrum refers to tear or hole in the tympanic membrane or eardrum. Tympanic membrane is the fine tissue which separates the exterior ear canal from the middle ear. When fluid gathers behind your eardrum, the resultant pressure can break open the eardrum. This can cause blood or pus to flow out from the ears. If the situation does not resolve on its own, you may have to go for a surgery.
  3. Mastoiditis- This condition occurs when the mastoid bone that is situated right at the back of your ear, becomes infected due to infection in the middle ear. In order to perform its function properly, the mastoid needs to receive air from different sections of the ear along with the Eustachian tube which acts as the bridge between the rear side of your throat and the middle ear. If the infection in the middle ear obstructs the Eustachian tube, then it can result in the infection of the mastoid bone. In certain cases, Mastoiditis can lead to brain abscess or Meningitis, an infection in the tissues covering the spinal cord and the brain, caused by bacteria.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

 

2364 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Pain in right side ear during chewing food otherwise no pain in ear. Suffering with pain last two days .kindly suggest medicine or ENT number.

MS otorhinolaryngology and head and neck surgery
ENT Specialist, Jaipur
Hello lybrate-user. Pain in rt ear may be due to acute otitis media. And due to eustachian tube involvement. You need to take painkiller and nasal decongestant like xylometazolin for short duration of 5 days. And of still no reloef then see nearby ent Dr. if you need antibiotics or not.
1 person found this helpful

I am 37 year old lady. I am suffering from ear infection. I got pain in my ear and having problems in even listening sometimes. I feel something heavy in my ear please suggest something.

MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Trivandrum
It's likely fluid in the ear. You can use antihistamine, nasal decongestants and steam inhalation. He you have an active infection you should treat that as well.
1 person found this helpful

I travelled to Leh for vacation. My left ear was paining badly due to change in air pressure in flight to leh. But even after landing in Leh yesterday, I am still feeling pain. please suggest some remedy so that I can enjoy my vacations for next 6-7 days.

MS otorhinolaryngology and head and neck surgery
ENT Specialist, Jaipur
Yeah pain in ears is quite common due flight and change in ear pressure. I would suggest you keep doing valsalva manueuvre countinuly during flight journey and use some nasal decongestant drops.
1 person found this helpful

I have an ear pain. It's been more than 2 weeks. I had consulted with doctor, as per him it is due to the ear wax which has become the stone now. He has prescribed a drop and a pain killer. However, sometimes the pain is uncontrollable. What should I do?

MBBS, Diploma In Otorhinolaryngology
ENT Specialist, Guwahati
You might have an associated fungal infection and may need anti fungal eardrops. First get the wax removed so that your doctor can also have a look at your eardrum.
3 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Ear ache (Ear Pain)
Earache: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Play video
Know More About Ear Discharge
Ear Discharge - Types and Precautions
Play video
Know More About Ear Discharge
Causes and treatment of Ear discharge
Play video
Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
Hi, I am Dr Khatri and I am an ENT surgeon. I will tell you something about Swimmer's ears.

Swimmer's ear is an infection which is caused due to dirty water. It is an infection of the outer ear and the ear canal which can result in itching, pain and discharge from the ear.

The common causes are;

Exposing to dirty water or long standing water like lakes and pond which contains a high content of bacteria.
It can also be due to some bacterial like lisa dumas or other bacterias. But also can be due to some fungus or viruses.
The common risk factors are;

Scratching or wrong ways to clean the ear.
It can be due to middle ear infections which person already have and have discharge.
Sometimes it can be an allergic reaction to the chemicals used for dye or something else.
There can be some allergic reaction or skin diseases like Psoriasis or Eczema.

The common symptoms are;

Itching and irritation which can be intense later on.
There can be redness in the skin, discomfort and later on pain in the external canal.
There can be some discharge which later can be converted into Puss.
There can be partial blockage or fullness of the ear canal.
Usually, it needs medical treatment, cleaning and ear drops. Also, you need to consult an ENT specialist. And meanwhile, you should avoid exposure to the water. You should not allow water to enter the ear during the medical treatment.
Play video
Causes of an Earache in Children
Here are some tips and causes of an earache in children
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice