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Pain in the ear, which could originate in the ear itself or could result from a disorder in one of the structures by the ear. Earache is a enormously normal symptom, particularly in childhood and infancy.


A common cause of earache is acute ottis media (infection of the middle ear), which happens most frequently in young children and results in extreme, stabbing pain in the ear. There could also be a chance of loss of hearing and a raised temperature.

Another widespread cause of earache is otitis external (inflammation of the ear canal), which is generally caused by infection.  Infection can affect the whole canal, or it is sometimes localised, taking the form of abscess of boil.  The earache can be accompanied by a discharge pus and irritation in the ear canal.

Intermittent earache can also take place in people with throat cancer, tonsillitis, dental problems, pain in the neck or jaw muscles and other disorders affecting areas near the ear.  Earache in these cases occurs because the ear and nearby areas are supplied by the same nerve; the pain is said to be referred to the ear. 

Diagnosis and treatment

To establish the cause of earache, the ear is examined.  The teeth, throat and mouth could also possibly be examined.

Analgesic drugs can be prescribed to relieve the pain.  Other treatment relies on the underlying cause of the earache.  Antibiotic drugs can be prescribed for an infection.  Pus in the outer ear can be removed by suction.  Pus in the middle ear can be drained through a hole in the eardrum, this procedure is known as myringotomy.  

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