Earache Diagnosis, Treatment and Managing Pain
Typically, an ear infection is referred to by acute otitis media or otitis externa. Otitis Media (Glue ear) is an infection in the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum) and is one of the most common reasons young children visit a healthcare provider. Otitis externa (Swimmers ear) is an infection in the ear canal.
Either an ENT or GP, a medical professional can determine whether you have an ear infection based on your symptoms and an examination. An examination of the ears, throat and nasal passage by a qualified ENT, using a small instrument with a light (an otoscope), will assist in determining the cause of the ear infection.
At Lions Hearing Clinic, your Audiologist will perform an Otoscopy, a Tympanometry test and a hearing test to review all the parts of your ear that may be infected. Otoscopy will allow the Audiologist to inspect the ear canal. For the tympanometry, the Audiologist will put a tiny probe, which looks like an earphone, into each ear and the little puff of wind, allowing the Audiologist to determine how well your eardrum moves to advise if there is any fluid behind the eardrum. If the eardrum isn’t moving, the middle ear is filled with fluid. The Hearing test will then determine if the infection is also causing a hearing loss.
Once the ear infection has been accurately diagnosed, ear infection treatment will be administered.
Earache Symptoms & Treatment
Earaches occur in both adults & children. Typically, only one ear will be affected and aching, although both will be in some cases. There may be a constant pain, or it may appear and disappear, and this pain could be sharp, dull, or burning. In some cases, there is no pain and you may just feel like your hearing is impacted.
Individuals suffering from an ear infection will often experience fever and, in some cases, even temporary hearing loss. Children with ear infections often act irritable and fussy, and we recommend you seek treatment.
A sore throat, sinus infections, perforated eardrums, wax build-up, arthritis affecting the jaw or even eczema in the ear canal can cause earaches. Seeking earache treatment from a medical professional is the best option for diagnosing the cause of your earache and subsequently treating it.
There is a range of ways that you will receive earache treatment. Several at-home earache remedies are popular, but you should visit your GP for the best results. If an infection causes the earache, you may be prescribed oral antibiotics or eardrops. If a wax build-up has caused the earache, it may need to be removed. Otherwise, appropriate earache treatment will be provided based on the cause ie TMJ dysfunction, a sinus infection, or the earache.
Blocked Ear Treatment
At Lions Hearing Clinic, an Audiologist will use an otoscope to inspect the ear cancel which will magnify everything and allow us to see the ear canal and eardrum clearly.
This will allow the Audiologist to determine whether or not you have a blockage and the best course of treatment.
Using a smaller, curved instrument either with or without suction lets your Audiologist remove excess wax whilst inspecting the ear. Alternatively, wax can be removed using water syringing, flushing the ear canal with warm water to flush out the wax, at Lions Hearing Clinic we don’t recommend or perform ear syringing.
In the case of frequent earwax production, a wax-removal or wax-softening medication may be recommended by your Audiologist, such as carbamide peroxide or ear wax removal drops. Using these drops should be limited to the amount recommended by the manufacturer as they can irritate the delicate skin in the eardrum and ear canal. Still, they are helpful for blocked ear treatment.
Swimmers Ear Treatment
People who regularly get water in their ears are more likely to experience otitis externa, which is why it is often referred to as a swimmer’s ear.
Common symptoms of a swimmer’s ear are itching, pain, a blocked sensation in the ear, hearing loss, pus or discharge from the ear, fever or pain around the ear or in the neck.
If you are experiencing these symptoms it is recommended you see your general practitioners to ensure it does not get worse.