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Ear pain – causes, treatment

Ear pain – this is a serious problem often reported by patients to family doctors. Ear pain defined as a symptom of outer and middle ear diseases called primary otalgia. However, if it is located outside the ear – secondary otalgia, relapsing pain.

Earache: The guy holds his hands over his ears and screams

Inflammation of the outer ear

Causes of pain:

  • bacterial or fungal inflammation

Quite popular, especially among professional swimmers, the so-called swimmer’s ear, formed as a result of long-term exposure of the ear canal to water containing microorganisms, manifested by a feeling of clogged ear, itching, and slight or fever.

  • mechanical injuries

Most often caused by an unskillful ear cleaning technique, usually with cotton buds or the presence of a foreign body or earwax.

  • boil of the ear canal

Infectious lesions around the sebaceous glands and hair follicles – predisposing to its appearance are patients struggling with such problems as: diabetes, immune deficiencies and malnutrition with vitamin deficiencies.

  • auricle abscess
  • auricle rose

Caused by streptococci, it affects the skin and subcutaneous tissue – the skin becomes swollen and red.

  • eczema

It appears under the influence of an allergic factor, solar radiation. Accompanied by severe ear itching.

  • ear shingles

Caused by the chickenpox virus, manifested by the formation of bubbles filled with serum fluid.

  • tumors

Middle ear – inflammation most often occurs in children, is usually bacterial and is a consequence of upper respiratory tract infections.

Otitis media is distinguished:

  • spicy

It is characterized by severe, throbbing pain in the ear, fever and hearing loss.

  • exudative

It usually lasts for many months or years as fluid builds up in the tympanic cavity, causing hearing loss.

  • chronic

The constant presence of perforation of the tympanic membrane.

Causes of pain:

  • inflammation
  • barotrauma
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • tumors
  • mastoiditis

Diseases of the inner ear generally do not cause pain.

Ways to relieve ear pain:

Heat therapy – camphor oil

The skin around the ear is rubbed with a warming oil or a warm compress is applied. In order not to irritate the skin, it is worth applying a moisturizing ointment before applying the oil; do not drop the oil into the ear! – it may damage the eardrum

Better to sit than to lie down

After just a few minutes in an upright position, the swelling reduces and the discharge from the Eustachian tubes begins to drain. Place your head higher at night.

Chewing gum or sucking on a candy

This is a well-known and proven method of clearing the ears during flight, but it can also help at night during a pain attack – chewing activates the jaw muscles and supports the opening of the Eustachian tube orifices.


In this reflex, the muscles that regulate the opening of the Eustachian tubes tighten more effectively than in the previous method.

Do not sleep while landing (lowering altitude)

In a dream, swallowing movements occur less frequently and in a person who is asleep, while descending the plane, the pressure balance between the ear and the external pressure is disturbed, causing pain.

OTC (over-the-counter drug) treatment – “over-the-counter” drugs

  • Painkillers with paracetamol (Apap), combined with codeine (Antidol, Nurofen Plus)
  • Anti-pain + anti-inflammatory tablets: ibuprofen (Nurofen, Ibum); naproxen (Aleve, Naxil),
  • Ear drops: containing choline salicylate (Ototalgin) -NLPZ;

Indications for use: in inflammations of the external auditory canal


Wash hands
Warm the drops to body temperature by holding the container in your hand for a few minutes
Lie on your side – sick ear facing the ceiling
Pull the ear back and up (adults), pull it back and down (children <3 years old) to open the ear canal.
Instill the preparation and gently press the small auricles
Stay lying down for 3-5 minutes in order to distribute the drug throughout the canal. You can gently massage the ear area.
Do not put your fingers, cotton wool or hairpins into the ear canal
Avoid getting shampoo or soap into the ear canal

The most commonly used ear drops are:



Szczeklik, P. Gajewsk, Interna Szczeklik.

If you suffer from chronic ear pain, consult that with doctor online.

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