What are some common causes of inner ear pain?
Thank you for your enquiry. The common causes of ear pain seen in my clinic are:
1. Ear infections:
A) Otitis externa - This refers to infection of the ear canal. It happens most frequently with ear diggers and frequent swimmers. Common symptoms include ear pain, discharge and blockage. On examination, pus may be seen in the ear canal or the canal itself is red and inflamed. Treatment of otitis externa consist of ear cleaning with a suction instrument under microscope guidance (micro-suctioning), antibiotic ear drops and occassionally, oral antibiotics.
B) Otitis media - This refers to inflammation of the middle ear (the eardrum and the space behind the eardrum). Children are more likely to suffer from otitis media due to an immature eustachian tube (tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose). Patients with nasal allergies, cold or sinus infection can also develop a middle ear infection. Common symptoms of otitis media are ear pain and blockage. In children, fever, irritability and poor feeding may be the only symptoms. Treatment depends on age and severity but include watchful waiting, pain relievers and oral antibiotics
2. Impacted earwax - Many people are unaware that the ear canal is a self-cleansing structure and ear digging with a cotton bud will only push the earwax deeper. Even the use of a small metal or wooden pick is strongly discouraged as the lining of the ear canal is very thin and easily traumatized, resulting in an ear infection. Impacted earwax often causes a blocked ear and sometimes ear pain.
3. Foreign body in the ear - This usually occurs if a child inserts beads or toys in their ear. Adults do the get foreign bodies in the ear too - this often occurs after the tip of a cotton bud is broken and is stuck in the ear canal of ear diggers.
If you have persistent ear pain, it is best to visit a GP or ENT Specialist.
Hope this helps and all the best!
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