Ear pain is bothersome and it is often hard to identify the cause. Below are the most common causes of this annoyance.
Your ear is actively working to equalize the pressure on both sides of your eardrum. You know this is happening when you feel a little pop. But quick changes in air pressure, which occur when you are on an airplane or a fast moving elevator make it harder to keep the balance. This can lead to pain in the ear and trouble hearing.
Cerumen, also known as earwax is created by glands in your outer ear. Earwax helps moisturize the ear canal, fights off infections and traps debris so that it cannot enter the ear.
Earwax naturally falls out of your ear without you even noticing. But when something prevents this from happening, the earwax can build up and create a blockage. This is known as impacted earwax.
It is important to point out that you should never try to remove impacted earwax by sticking a cotton swab or other object into your ear. Instead of clearing the blockage, it will only push the earwax deeper into the ear.
You can remove excess earwax at home with an over-the-counter kit or some warn water. If this does not work, your doctor can remove the earwax without damaging your eardrum.
When you swim or spend any time in the water, the water can become trapped in your ear canal. This water can breed germs, causing an ear infection in the outer ear. This can cause your ear to be swollen, painful and itchy.
The best way to prevent it from occurring is through the use of swim plugs. If you do get water in your ear, turn your ear to the side to let the water drain and thoroughly dry your ears.
If you do develop an infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Middle Ear Infection
Also known as otitis media, this type of ear infection is caused by a fluid buildup in the middle ear from a cold, allergies or even a sinus infection. This is the most common cause of ear pain.
If your doctor thinks the infection is caused by bacteria, you will be prescribed an antibiotic. If the infection is viral, the treatment is over-the-counter pain medication, a decongestant, nasal steroid and time.
If left untreated, a middle ear infection can lead to hearing loss.
To learn more about the causes of ear pain or to schedule an appointment with your ear, nose and throat doctor, contact the experts at Charleston ENT & Allergy today.