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An earache can be a sharp, dull or burning ear pain that is either constant or comes and goes. One or both ears may be affected.

Earaches are a very common medical problem for both children and adults. With children being more likely to experience earaches than adults.


While ear ache can be caused by many different health problems. In children, ear ache is more likely to be a symptom of an inflammation, infection, or fluid buildup in the external or middle ear.

Other causes of earache could include:

  • A scrape or other physical damage to the inside of the ear caused by a cotton bud, stick or similar
  • Ear wax or an object stuck inside the ear
  • A throat infection, such as tonsillitis, which can affect the ear
  • An impacted tooth
  • Ezcema in the ear canal
  • Tooth inferction
  • sore throat
  • sinus infection
  • shampoo or water in the ear
  • use of cotton swabs in the ear



If your child’s ear ache is caused by an infection then the following symptoms are what you should look out for:

Your child will be hot and irritable if they have an ear infection. Other signs in babies and children include:

  • Rubbing or pulling the ear
  • A fever of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above
  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Restlessness at night
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Unresponsive to quiet sounds
  • Loss of balance


Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help treat the pain cause by earaches. Also placing a warm cloth against the affected ear may also help to relieve the pain.

The following tips are also useful:

  • Avoiding getting the ear wet
  • Sitting upright to help relieve ear pressure
  • Feeding the infant to help relieve pressure

While, many ear infections can clear up on their own without treatment, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic tablets or eardrops

If wax buildup is causing your ear pain, you may be given wax-softening eardrops. This may cause the wax to fall out on its own. Your doctor may also flush it out of your ear.

Tooth infection, sinus infections, and other causes of earaches will be treated directly. This should improve your ear pain.

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