Ear problems may be caused by many different health
problems. In children, ear pain is more likely to be a symptom of an
inflammation, infection, or fluid buildup in the external or middle ear. But
ear pain at any age may be a symptom of:
Atmospheric pressure changes (barotrauma) can cause
problems with the
eustachian tube and trap air in or keep air out of the
middle ear. Middle ear problems can be severe (for example, the ear drum can
burst or the middle ear can fill with blood or pus) or mild and only be felt as
changes in pressure.
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Home treatment may be all that is
needed to relieve minor or intermittent ear discomfort.
To ease ear pain, apply a warm washcloth or a
heating pad set on low. There may be some drainage from
the ear when the heat melts
Do not use a heating pad when you are in bed. You may fall asleep and burn yourself.
Do not use a heating pad on
ice or cold pack to reduce swelling from a minor injury or sunburn. Apply
for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day during the first 48 hours after the injury.
The sooner you apply a cold pack, the less swelling you are likely to have.
Place a cloth between the ice and your skin.
Oral or nasal
decongestants may relieve ear pain, especially if the
pain is related to fluid behind the eardrum (otitis media with effusion). Avoid products that contain antihistamines, which tend to
cause more blockage, unless allergies seem to be the problem.
Chewing gum may help relieve pressure changes
in the ear, such as when flying in an airplane.
nonprescription earwax remover if your ear feels plugged but you do not have
signs of infection. Be sure to follow the label
Do not use ear candles. They have no proven benefit in the removal of earwax or the
treatment of other ear problems, and they can cause serious injury.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.