The most common cause of earache is blockage of the eustachian tube, the narrow tube that leads from your middle ear to the back of your throat. Pressure and fluid build up in the middle ear, causing pain.


Causes of Earache

Earaches can have a number of causes:

  • A cold or upper respiratory illness
  • Allergens or other irritants
  • A change in air pressure, such as when you drive up a mountain, or descend in an airplane
  • A loud, sudden noise
  • Injury or trauma
  • A foreign object in the ear, such as a bean, small insect , or a crayon tip
  • Excessive ear wax build up

Depending on the cause , an earache might be accompanied by some of these symptoms:

  • Runny nose, sinus or respiratory congestion
  • Fever
  • Green or yellow mucus discharge from the nose
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Difficulty hearing
  • A discharge of blood or pus from the ear
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting

An earache caused by a cold or virus often clears up by itself in a few days. If pain or discomfort persists for longer than 48 hours, or is acute, see a doctor.  We can help  at at Urgent Family Care in Sevierville or Knoxville,  TN.


Home Care for Earache

Try the following to relieve earache pain:

  • A n non-prescription pain reliever. Follow the directions on the label carefully. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20.
  • Warmth applied to the affected area. Use a warm washcloth, or a hot water bottle filled with warm (not hot) water and wrapped in a towel
  • Elevation of the head with an extra pillow
  • Rest


When to See a Doctor for Earache

Small children are susceptible to earache because their eustachian tubes are so tiny. See a doctor if an infant under 2 years old:

  • Has a cold and cries inconsolably
  • Has a fever with other signs of ear infection
  • Pulls and scratches at his or her ears
  • Has a brown, bloody, yellow or white discharge from  the ear
  • Is sleepless and irritable
  • Loses his or her appetite (swallowing can increase the discomfort)

See a doctor immediately if an earache is accompanied by high fever, a stiff neck, or visible swelling behind the ear.

Get treatment for earache and ear infection now at Urgent Family Care in Sevierville or Knoxville,  TN.


Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation of the outer ear canal. It is caused by a foreign object or substance interfering with the natural coating of the ear canal. The ear canal looks red and swollen, and the ear feels tender when it is pulled up and back. It is most common in teens and young adults. The inflammation can be caused by:

  • Sand or water entering the ear canal
  • Sweat
  • Soap or bubble bath
  • Scratching the ear canal with a fingernail or other sharp object
  • Earphones
  • Skin problems or allergies to hair products or jewelry

See a doctor to treat swimmer’s ear and prevent future occurrences.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.