Pain in the ear is one of the most frequent and stressing childhood ailments, as many sleepless parents know. Infection of the middle ear – acute otitis media – is its most common cause in adults and children. A sever, stabbing pain, high temperature and some hearing loss may precede a rupture of the eardrum and the release of fluid.
Sometimes, infection strikes the outer ear canal, inflaming it and even causing a particularly painful abscess or boil.
More rarely, a form of herpes blisters the canal, causing earache for long after all signs of the infection have cleared up.
Not all earache results from ear trouble. Because the same nerves supply the ear and adjacent areas, pain in an ear can be assign of tooth problems, a through infection or a disorder of the jaw or neck muscles. A cold, flu, scarlet fever, mumps and measles may all trigger an earache. Because the ear, nose and throat are closely connected, it’s easy for viruses and bacteria to move through the ear’s Eustachian tube to settle in the middle ear, where they multiply. The mucous membrane lining the middle ear tries to defend itself by producing fluids. Pressure builds up, bringing pain and temporary hearing loss.
Persistent earache, like any other constant pain, should not be ignored. Ear infections can result in mastoiditis, meningitis and sometimes a brain abscess. Fortunately, if attention is swift, these complications today are rare.