Though earaches commonly occur with a cold, sometimes a middle ear infection (otitis media) can occur as a secondary symptom. Earache from a cold can range from mild to very painful and can be a sharp, dull, or burning pain.
The middle ear is the tympanic membrane and the bones are immediately behind it. These small body parts are important because they are the building blocks of our ability to hear. The outer ear is the canal and the parts of the ear that we can all see. The external ear’s job is to carry sound waves to the ear drum. If that canal is infected or swollen or full of wax, our ability to hear will be impacted.
A person may feel ear pain, swelling, blockage, itching or discharge. Rubbing, inserting Q-tips, or getting it wet in a pool or shower can make it worse. These symptoms may also be due to other causes, such as middle ear infection (generally associated with cold or sinus symptoms) or obstruction by earwax and sometimes even a sore throat or toothache can be associated with ear pain.
Ear infections are usually treated with antibiotic eardrops and sometimes also with an oral antibiotic. The infection should resolve within a week or two with treatment.
If your ear hurts, come on in and we’ll help you figure out what the cause of the pain is and how to alleviate it. Our board-certified emergency medicine physicians at AFC Bridgeport Urgent Care are available to treat patients 1 year or older every day. No appointment or referral is needed.