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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

Ear Discharge - Possible Causes Behind It!

ENT Specialist, Faridabad
Ear Discharge - Possible Causes Behind It!

Discharge from the ear is medically termed as otorrhea. This discharge can be white (clear), yellow, brown, bloody, or with pus (purulent). Also, it can be offensive (smelly) or non-offensive. Discharge can be due to the pathologies of the ear canal, middle ear, or, rarely, from inside the skull. There are many causes of ear discharge, some are:

  1. Earwax- Wax is a brown, sticky discharge from the ear. The wax formation is a normal process. It is a protective mechanism of the body. It protects the ear from dust, bacteria, viruses, or any foreign bodies entering inside. Sometimes excess of wax can be a problem. That’s why it should be removed regularly.
  2. Infection- It is one of the most common reasons for discharge from the ear. It occurs when the middle ear is infected with bacteria or viruses. This causes fluid to build up in the ear, which leads to ear discharge. Generally, the discharge is yellowish due to pus and offensive because of the infection.
  3. Swimmer’s ear- It is medically termed as otitis externa. It occurs when the ear canal is infected with bacteria or virus. Mostly, this condition is due to long hours of swimming; too much moisture in the ear can rupture the wall of the ear canal through which the infection enters in the ear canal.Also, this can be due to eczema or any foreign body in the ear which can rupture the wall.
  4. Trauma- This can be due to the cotton swab while cleansing your ear if you insert or push it too deep. Also, this can be due to altitude changes such as seen in scuba diving or while flying in the airplane. This can cause rupture of the eardrum leading to ear discharge.Acoustic trauma- This type of trauma occurs due to loud noises which rupture the eardrum and can cause discharge from the ear.
  5. Necrotizing or malignant otitis externa- This condition is very rare. This condition can occur as a complication of otitis externa, or in immunocompromised patients, or in those suffering from diabetes. This can cause damage to the cartilage and bones in the base of the skull which is responsible for the ear discharge. It can be clear fluid due to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which is present in the brain.
  6. Cholesteatoma- It’s a noncancerous growth of skin cells in the middle ear leading to discharge from the ear.
  7. Mastoiditis- It is due to infection of the mastoid bone which can cause discharge from the ear. Even this condition is very rarely seen.
  8. Fracture of the skull- Fracture in any of the bones in the skull can lead to discharge from the ear.
  9. Head injury- It’s an emergency. Bloody discharge from the ear can be present.
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Ear Pain In Children - What Causes It?

ENT Specialist, Faridabad
Ear Pain In Children -  What Causes It?

Ear pain is also called as an earache or otalgia. The pain may be associated with fever, malaise, sore throat etc. Sometimes, a patient can indulge in rubbing ears or pulling of ears rather than directly complaining about the pain.

Ear pain may be caused by primary affections of the ear, or it may be caused by secondary affections of other parts which can cause referred pain.

What are the primary causes of ear pain?

Following are the most common causes of ear pain in small children:

  1. Infection of the ears: An infection of the middle ear, especially the eardrum, is the most common cause. An infection from the nasal passage can be transmitted to the ear via Eustachian tube. It usually occurs in winter as infections are common during winters.
  2. Due to swimming: Most children who are swimmers land up with an ear infection, as water from the pool enters the ear canal. The entry introduces an infection in the ear cavity that presents with ear pain.
  3. Due to an injury to the ear canal: An injury to the ear canal can occur either because of a cotton swab, a fingernail, or a pin which can lead to ear pain.
  4. Due to abscess formation in the ear canal: An abscess can be formed in the ear due to infection, and it can cause severe throbbing pain in children.
  5. Due to an accumulation of earwax: Excessive accumulation of earwax in the ear is one of the most common reasons for ear pain in children. It usually causes mild ear pain.
  6. Due to blockage of the ear canal by foreign objects: Small children usually put small objects, such as a ball, in the ear canal. Due to it, children may complain mild-to-moderate pain.
  7. Due to blockage of the ear while traveling in the airplane: Sometimes, the ear tube gets blocked due to sudden increases in air pressure and causes stretching of the eardrum, ultimately leading to ear pain.

What are the secondary causes of ear pain in children?

Following are the most common causes of ear pain in small children:

  1. Dental pain referring to the ear: The pain can occur during dentition or due to dental caries in the children due to a common nerve supply.
  2. Due to infection of another gland, such as the parotid gland: Sometimes, mumps, parotitis can be associated with ear pain as the parotid gland is present in front of the ear.
  3. Due to disorders of the temporomandibular joint In this condition, ear pain can occur while opening the mouth, chewing, etc.
  4. Other illnesses that can cause referred ear pain include lymphadenopathy, lymphadenitis, or an injury to the spine.

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

2379 people found this helpful

Early Swimmer's Ear Infection Symptoms

Diploma - Diploma - OLO - Rhino-Laryngology, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
ENT Specialist, Pune
Early Swimmer's Ear Infection Symptoms

Swimmer's ear is a medical condition, which involves inflammation, irritation or infection of the ear. It may affect the outer ear and also the ear canal. Swimmer's ear is called Otitis externa in medical terms. The condition may be acute to chronic in nature.

Swimmer's ear is an infection that's usually caused by bacteria commonly found in water and soil. Infections caused by a fungus or a virus are less common. This condition is more common in teenagers and young adults. It may occur due to a middle ear infection or because of a respiratory infection such as cold.
Swimmer's ear can occur as a result of swimming in unclean or contaminated water. These waters contain pseudomonas and other harmful bacteria, which can lead to such ear infections. The infections are rarely caused by fungus.

Swimmer's ear may also result due to other reasons. They can be:

  1. Scratching the inside or outside of the ear.
  2. Having something stuck in the ear. When you clean ear wax with cotton swabs or small objects, damage may occur. Using headphone or ear plugs for a long period of time may also cause swimmer's ear.
  3. Allergic reaction to some object or anything placed in the ear may also cause Swimmer's ear. These may be hair products or jewelry.
  4. Some chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis may also lead to this infection.

Risk factors:
There are several factors, which may enhance the risk of getting swimmer's ear. They are as follows:

  1. Swimming in water, which has got elevated levels of bacteria. This includes lakes and ponds.
  2. People having narrow ear canals are at a more risk of swimmer's ear.
  3. Aggressive cleaning and scratching of the ear canal.

The symptoms which indicate swimmer's ear are:

  1. Itching of the ear canal. This becomes intense as the condition progresses.
  2. Redness on the inside parts of the ear, which get more extensive in later stages.
  3. Discomfort which worsens by pulling on the outer ear or pushing on the tragus of the front part of the ear.
  4. Drainage of a fluid which is clear and odorless. As the condition worsens, there is excessive drainage of fluid along with the discharge of pus.
  5. A fullness feeling in the ear and a partial blockage of the ear canal because of swelling and fluids.
  6. In advanced stages, fever and swelling of lymph nodes in the neck is indicated. Hearing impairment may occur.

Swimmer's ear is a health condition, which involves the ear. The ear gets inflamed because of a certain bacterial infection. Although it is not a very severe condition, in some cases it can do significant harm. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Middle Ear Infection: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

ENT Specialist, Noida
Middle Ear Infection: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The human ear is divided into three parts, namely the outer, middle and inner ear. All these parts function in coherence with each other and help us in converting vibrations into sound and information. The middle ear consists of the air space between the inner ear and the outer ear and contains the bones that transmit the vibrations of the outer ear and translate them into information. This area is prone to infections, especially among children and thus may cause discomfort or pain. 

Symptoms of middle ear infections: Middle ear infections primarily tend to manifest themselves as inflammation of the tissues and buildup of fluids. Some of the symptoms are mentioned below.

Infections in children: Middle ear infections primarily occur in children although it can occur in adults as well. Some of the common symptoms could be:

  • Ear pain either sitting or standing up and especially while lying down
  • Irritability and crying, which in infants could translate to more than usual crying 
  • Problems with sound and difficulties in hearing
  • Fluid buildup causing balance related problems
  • Discharge of fluid in certain cases
  • Unable to sleep and also loss of appetite
  • In some cases children may have high fever

Causes of middle ear infections: The primary cause of middle ear infection is due to the presence of bacteria or virus in the area. The Eustachian tube, which runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat, is connected to nasal passages as well. Any infection that affects the throat or the nose may also affect the middle ear through this tube.

Primary causes for the infections could be

  • Cold or flu like symptoms, which then infect the middle ear as well
  • Otitis media, which is the buildup of fluid and inflammation either due to the presence of bacteria and viruses or even without it
  • Seasonal infections, which are common during late autumn or winters
  • Air pollution is also known to be a factor
  • Infection from others, especially in the case of children when they are part of a group care
  • Children from 6 months to 2 years are also susceptible to middle ear infections as their immune systems are much less developed.

Treatment of middle ear infections: Usually, middle ear infections resolve on their own within a day or so. You can try warm compress with a soft piece of cloth to ease the pain. However, if pain persists for too long then antibiotic medications may be required to fight the infection with pain relief medications to lessen the pain and discomfort. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3324 people found this helpful

Ear Drum Perforations: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery, Diploma In Otorhinolaryngology (DLO), DNB - ENT, Allergy Testing
ENT Specialist, Gurgaon
Ear Drum Perforations: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ear drum is a thin curtain-like tissue that separates the inner ear from the middle and outer ear. If this ear drum is somehow punctured, then that condition is referred to as an ear drum perforation. The ear drum can get perforated for a variety of reasons, but here are the major causes for the same.

Causes Of Ear Drum Perforations

  1. Infection- An ear infection can alleviate into an ear drum perforation. Usually, the infected area may undergo inflammation to such a degree that it may puncture the ear drum. Normally, in case of ear drum perforations due to infections, the pus from the infection drops out of the ear.
  2. Foreign object- Inserting a foreign object inside the ear in a bid to scratch or clear the area can damage the ear drum. Avoid using Q-tips and other foreign items to scratch the ear.
  3. Barotrauma- This is a condition when the air pressure on the outer ear is not the same as the pressure inside the inner ear. Usually, barotrauma is caused when a plane changes altitude or in case of scuba divers when they make the dive deep down.
  4. Injury- Injury resulting from head trauma or a slap across the ear can sometimes cause the ear drum to rupture as well.

Symptoms of Ear Drum Perforation
Everyone does not experience the typical symptoms that are associated with a perforated ear drum. Most people do not notice it at once, but may visit the doctor after several days of discomfort. People who have a perforated ear drum may also notice air coming out of their ears when they blow their nose. This happens as the forceful blow of air causes the air to rise inside the ear cavity and come out through the opening in the ear drum. Apart from these symptoms, pain in the ear, pus discharge, hearing loss and dizziness may also be caused due to the condition.

Treatment for Ear Drum Perforation
Ear drum perforation does not require a specific kind of treatment to heal. This is because the condition gets repaired by itself within a couple of months. Doctors may, at the most, prescribe antibiotics to ensure that the ear does not get infected prior to complete healing. If the condition is extremely painful, doctors may also prescribe certain over-the-counter pain medications to you. In some rare cases, surgery may be needed in order to completely mend the perforated ear drum.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 66 year old, and have a little ear problem. From left ear I feel little numbness and pain and reduced hearing. What to do. I am diabetic.

General Physician, Mumbai
In a known case of diabetic we need to control sugar levels with medication, aerobic exercise and following a diabetic diet and For pain take tablet paracetamol 650 mg
1 person found this helpful

Sir mera kan ka nas kamjor ho gaya hai jiske karan ham kam sunte hai Kirpya Koi upay bataye.

Homeopath, Hooghly
Apko pehle ek ENT specialist ko dikhana haii fir apko proper homoeopathic treatment ka jarurat haii.

I have ear pain due to cold /cough? My Age is 13.Please suggest me something for that.

Homeopath, Hooghly
Apply dry heat around that area,,, gurgle with laung,,with this u need proper homoeopathic treatment to cure ur problem permanently

I have sinus infection. My ear and throat and neck nerves are always getting pain. Pain comes and goes always. I have done ct scan and ultra sound and endoscopy all tests are normal doctor give antibiotics but not curing my problem what can I do? Please help me for that.

Bachelor of Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences (BNYS), MD-NATUROPATHY
Yoga & Naturopathy Specialist, Delhi
Start with yogic kriyas. Sinus cleaning and anti allergic techniques to cure your sinusitis. Jal Neti and Sutra Neti. Take regular steam inhalation with Tulasi and neem leaves. Learn from a yoga doctor.

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?