Kids and adults may both suffer from unbearable earache pain.

There are 3 basic types of earaches doctors normally treat, including Bulbous Myrigitis, Otitis Media, and Otitis Externa. Each type has a different cause, effect, and treatment. Let’s look at each one by defining what it is, how it is may be contracted, the manner of diagnosis, and the treatment prescribed:

A severe case of otitis externa.

Bullous Myringitis

This is an inflammation of the tympanic membrane, better known as the ear drum, which serves as the boundary between the outer and middle ear. The inflammation may result from a localized infection, or from a puncture wound of the membrane. The damage could occur when an item, such as a swab or pin is inserted into the ear in an ill-advised attempt to clean the ear. The pain is usually quite severe and may not abate until the blister bursts. A painful blister usually is a result of an infection, and will ooze for one to two days after bursting. You may notice discharges of puss, as well as sharp pain that can affect hearing. As a result, you may experience itching, swelling, burning, sensations. When you see a doctor for your earache he will use an otoscope to examine your ear canal and eardrum. In the case of Myringitis, medical treatment is required to rid the ear of the infection. Your doctor will probably recommend or prescribe ear drops to relieve the pain, along with a course of antibiotics to rid you of the infection, and anti-inflammatory drugs to help with swelling. If the eardrum is ruptured, a surgery known as myringoplasty may be required to heal the wound. Normally, patients begin to see relief within a week’s time.  If follow-up is required, is wise to do so. You may need to have hearing tested in case hearing is permanently lost.

Otitis Media

This infection of the middle ear is most common in children. It occurs when the Eustachian tube becomes blocked by swelled mucous membranes from allergies or an upper respiratory infection, which can cause a vacuum in the middle ear. Middle ear effusion can occur if the vacuum is allowed to continue. When infected with this ear issue, children may seem to have an upper respiratory tract infection, cough, or runny nose. Children may complain of ear pain, and infants may seem fussy or feverish. To diagnose this, a doctor must determine if there is swelling, redness, or cloudiness of the eardrum. They do this through examination of the eardrum. If otitis media is diagnosed, they may prescribe antibiotics in severe cases. Mostly, treatment is only for symptoms of the earache, including pain reducing eardrops or topical solutions, over-the-counter oral pain medications. In recurring cases, a tympanostomy tube, or grommet, may be inserted in the ear for a period of time to help prevent the earache from occurring again. Follow-up may be recommended.

Severe otitis externa in a four year old Cocke...

Otitis Externa

This is an infection of the ear canal often referred to as Swimmer’s ear.  It is caused by excess moisture that gets trapped in the ear. Swimming, along with bathing and extreme humidity may be culprits. Use of a cotton swab to clean your ears may also contribute to contracting this type of earache. If you suspect you have swimmer’s ear, avoid continuing exposure to moisture, or scratching or itching the ear canal with fingers or foreign objects. This type of earache is an inflammation of the inner and outer ear canal, which can lead to the narrowing of the auditory channel, making it difficult to hear. Look for swelling around the ear canal, the auditory channel, and an ear which will become tender and painful to touch. A discharge from the ear, eczema-like skin flaking, as well as itchiness, may also accompany this pain. Ears that are infected will not produce normal amounts of earwax. Normally, doctors can diagnose swimmer’s ear from a simple physical examination. Though they may ask you to return for another examination, or take a culture of the drainage. To treat this, doctors may recommend a thorough cleaning, and caution in exposure to moisture or outside objects. In extreme cases, they may prescribe antibiotic eardrops, or a topical solution of antibiotics, or antifungal solutions.

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