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1. What can cause ear pain?
Ear pain is a very common condition. The following reasons can cause ear pain: blockage of the passageway between middle ear and throat; ear infection; inflammation of the ear canal; injury to the ear; neuralgia (pain due to irritation of the nerves of the ears); throat infection; swelling in the joint of the jaw in arthritis patients; and dental abscess.
2. Is ear pain serious?
Ear pain is a common condition especially in small children. It is not at all a serious condition. Usually it will be gone in a few days without any treatment. But, if it is associated with any other condition such as infection, fever or sore throat, you need to consult a doctor immediately.
3. Can home remedies offer relief in ear pain?
Ear pain can also be treated at home. Some home remedies are as follows: put a warm flannel on the ear or a heating pad; pain medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen available as over the counter medicines; avoid using earbuds to clean the ear yourself when you have ear pain; and you may put over the counter ear drops.
4. Whom should I consult if I have an ear pain?
If you are not able to manage your ear pain at home, you should see your doctor. If your doctor feels the need of seeing a specialist, he/she will recommend you to consult an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist. An ENT specialist will examine your ear using an instrument known as an otoscope. If required the specialist may refer you to an audiologist for a hearing examination.
5. What treatment options are available for ear pain?
Ear pain can go away without any treatment, but if it is severe you should see a doctor. The following treatment options are available: pain killers, such as paracetamol to reduce pain which are available over the counter; wax softening ear drops; decongestants to relieve the cold symptoms; and antibiotics ear drop to treat the ear infection.