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.