What do I do if I have an earache?

Earache is any pressing or stabbing pain that occurs in the area of the outer ear or in the middle ear. Pain can also occur when chewing. This pain can be accompanied by reduced hearing, dizziness, nausea, fluid leaking from the ear and fever. Most often, children are affected, but adults are also among the patients.

The causes are manifold, e.g. a cold, allergies or infections, which lead to swelling of the mucous membrane, possibly also to secretion formation and thus to blockage of the Eustachian tube. If this tube is blocked, fluid accumulates behind the eardrum and (middle ear) inflammation occurs. A middle ear infection that is not treated or is treated too late can lead to severe and chronic damage. If it is recognized and treated quickly, hearing can be fully restored.

The ENT doctor always examines both ears, especially the eardrum with the help of an ear microscope and looks to see if it is irritated or reddened. In most cases, the latter indicates an inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media). A hearing test (audiogram) and measurement of the mobility of the eardrum (tympanogram) may be necessary for a complete clarification.

Treatment is carried out by administering nasal drops so that the accumulated secretion can drain off and, if necessary, by taking antibiotics until the inflammation has completely (!) subsided. Additional relief is provided by heat treatment and the controlled intake of a painkiller.


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