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Why does my ear hurt?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Earaches and ear infections are common conditions that cause a painful sensation within the ear. It can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and may affect one or both ears. 

While earaches tend to last from a few hours or days, depending on the cause and severity. Ear infections can last much longer if not properly diagnosed and treated, and in serious cases could cause permanent damage. 

Here are the common symptoms of each: 

Earache symptoms

  • Mild to severe pain
  • Reduced hearing
  • Tender to the touch

Ear infection symptoms

In addition to the symptoms for earache, you may experience the following if your ear is infected: 

  • Sensation of fullness or pressure
  • Drainage from the ear (clear fluid to pus-like or bloody discharge)
  • Dizziness, vertigo, or balance issues

How do you get an ear infection?

Ear infections can develop when bacteria, viruses, or fungi invade the ear canal or middle ear, leading to inflammation and infection. 

Ear infections often follow respiratory illnesses such as colds, flu, or sinus infections. This happens when the virus or bacteria spreads from the nose and throat to the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat.

Here are some other ways you can get an ear infection:

  • Allergies 
  • Swimming or bathing (causing excessive moisture) 
  • Trauma or injury to the ear

Frequently asked questions about earache

What causes ear pain?

Ear pain can be caused by various issues such as infections, blockages, or injury. You should consult your pharmacist for further medical guidance.

When should I seek medical help for ear pain?

Consult your pharmacist for ear pain if it persists for more than a few days, is accompanied by fever or severe headache, or if there’s discharge or blood from the ear.

How can I prevent ear pain?

Prevent ear pain by practising good ear hygiene, using ear protection in noisy environments, and seeking prompt treatment for ear infections or other underlying conditions.

A man holds his ear in pain wants to get rid of his ear infection
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