Some people suffer from earache. It can be due to cold or an ear infection. If the pain is due to cold it will be sharp or dull with some burning pain that may be mild or severe. Even though the fluid inside is not infected, it creates some pressure on the eardrum and makes it to throb and bulge. You may find it very difficult to sleep because you may be suffering from fever or have yellow or green mucous in your nose. The earache due to cold heals when the cold disappears.
If you still have the pain, you should visit a doctor immediately. Earaches are caused due to the cold virus. The secondary ear may also get infected and result in severe pain in the beginning. The sensory nerves that end in the eardrum are affected due to the pressure and pain. When the eardrum stretches a bit, the pain reduces.
Symptoms of earache from ear infection
a. Younger children who are bottle feeding may experience loss of appetite. The pain increases with increase in pressure in the middle ear when the child is trying to swallow food.
b. In some cases it causes irritation.
c. As the fluid inside shifts, it may cause lack of sleep.
d. Ear infections can also cause rise body temperatures up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
e. Some of them experience a sense of spinning or vertigo.
f. If the eardrum has ruptured there may be some discharge from the ear that is brown, yellow or a white fluid.
g. When the fluid builds up in the middle ear, the eardrum cannot function properly. The sound may not be transmitted to the bones and to the brain. This causes difficulty in hearing.
The doctor will examine your ears using a device called otoscope. A healthy eardrum is transparent and pinkish gray in color. If there is infection it may be swollen, red or inflamed. He may check the fluid too. A small amount of air is blown into the ear with the instrument. If the fluid is present the eardrum will not move. Another test used for diagnosing is the tympanometry. The test is used for checking the fluid in the middle ear by using air pressure and sound. It may not be used for testing the hearing capacity.
Treatment for earache
Earache can be treated easily. Damage to the ear or hearing is rare these days with appropriate treatments. The treatment includes medicines for fever and pain, antibiotics for infection and observing the symptoms.
a. Pain killers
If you have earache due to cold or fever, ibuprophen or acetaminophen can help you to get relief. They can control the pain within 1-2 hours.
The antibiotics are used for killing the bacteria responsible for the infection. If the pain is due to virus or cold the antibiotics are not necessary. When you take antibiotics they may cause diarrhea, nausea, or yeast infections and may interfere with other medicines.
Sometimes the fluid remains for more than three months. If there are repeated infections especially in children, the doctor inserts tiny plastic or metal tubes through the eardrum to prevent fluid buildup and infection. The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. The tubes may be left inside for about 8-18 months after which they fall out on their own.
If you do not treat the ear infection in time it can lead to various long-term effects like infection in the inner ear, eardrum scarring, loss of hearing, mastoiditis or infection of skull behind the ear, meningitis or infection of tissues around the spinal cord and brain, speech problems in children and facial paralysis. Taking proper treatment at the right time can help you to get cured immediately.