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EAR ACHE
 


Earache is a very painful aliment that affects both adults as well as children. Known as Otalgia, it often results when there is an infection of the outer ear (otitis externa) and in the middle ear (otitis media). While buildup of fluids cold and allergy is the main reason for ear ache in children, in adults it is usually an infection. An ear ache usually occurs when the small space behind the eardrum in the middle ear gets filled with mucus. Overtime, this mucus then gets infected by bacteria or viruses thereby leading to ear pain.

Other reasons for an earache can be ear injuries or even infection in the nose and pharynx as well as teething and swimming. There are two types of ear pain- the one that originates inside the ear is known as primary otalgia while the other that originates from outside the ear and is a result of other causes is known as referred otalgia.

Causes of Earache:
Teeth problems pain the jaws, and sinus are the most common reasons for an ear ache as is water entering the ear and ear injuries to the ear canal (otitis externa).Lack of sleep, ruptured or perforated eardrum and even cold caused by bacteria growing in the middle ear behind the eardrum(otitis media)  are the other causes. Even snoring in certain cases can also lead to ear infections.  

 

Symptoms of Ear Ache:
Ear pain, irritability, fever, swelling around the ear, headaches, loss of hearing (in acute cases), drainage discharge from the ear and crying among infants and children are the usual symptoms. In extreme cases ear ache can lead to facial paralysis, meningitis and mastoiditis which is an infection of the skull behind the ear

Diagnosis:
It is possibly to diagnosis an ear ache. Usually an otoscope or tympanometry is used to detect both otitis externa and otitis media While in otitis externa, the ear canal looks swollen and inflamed and there will be signs of a drainage, in otitis media, the eardrum appears red and inflamed, and it will not move easily when air is passed in the ear drums with the help of a otoscope.

Treatment:
Given the symptoms, earache is fairly easy to detect and there are a lot of treatments easily available right from home remedies to antibiotics to medications.

Natural and Ayurvedic:
A simple way to relive ear pain till one goes to the doctor is to chew gum or to apply a cold pack or cold wet cloth on the outer ear for 20 minutes. Various prescriptions drop (as long as the ear drum is not ruptured) and medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also provide a quick relief. To relieve ear fluid, a procedure called Myringotomy is used. This procedure is usually on children who are prone to ear infections.  Here the doctor inserts small metal or plastic tubes through the eardrum to help keep the ear free of fluid and infection. These tubes are then left there for about 8-20 months after which they are removed. Usually an ear infection can get over in 2-3 days, but if it still persists then it’s time to see a doctor.

Shreeji Orthopaedic & ENT hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat is well known for treating cases related to Ear Pain and infection.

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