Ear infections are often associated with childhood. Over 80% of children have at least one ear infection by the age of three. Despite this, people of any age can suffer from ear infections, a leading cause of ear pain.
As an adult, your ear pain probably isn’t due to infection. But if you have the impression that ear pain is no big deal, you may be in for more pain and problems down the road. Visit Dr. Scott N. Bateman at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat when you have ear pain of any type, to assure that your problem remains minor.
Reasons for ear pain
While both acute and chronic ear infections remain as possible causes for ear pain, it may be more likely there’s another reason for your discomfort after you leave childhood. The complex physiology of the head puts many important structures into close proximity, so problems in one place can influence the performance of systems in other places.
Daily living also takes a toll on many parts of your body, and the ears are no different. Your ears are susceptible to trauma and wear-related issues, and the longer you live, the greater the chances you’ll experience an issue other than infection that creates ear pain.
Some of the causes of adult ear pain include:
- Impacted cerumen: a build-up of earwax that doesn’t clear the ear canal naturally
- Pressure-related ear injuries: as from sudden air pressure changes or a blow to the head
- A hole in the eardrum
- Clogged pores in the ear
- Infections to other structures in the head, including sinuses and teeth
- Joint disorders of the jaw, called temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
Why you should never ignore ear pain
When ear pain results from an infection, you may not be able to recover easily without a course of antibiotics. Since ear pain can also result as a symptom of other conditions, you risk being in pain until that condition is treated.
There are symptoms that accompany ear pain that may indicate your condition is serious. It’s time to connect with Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat or another health care provider if you experience any of the following:
- Severe pain that stops suddenly, suggesting an eardrum rupture
- High fever
- Headache or dizziness
- Swelling behind the ear, accompanied by weakness on that side of your face
- Pain symptoms that last for more than two days, or increase in intensity
Children and ear infections
Though frequent ear infections are common in children, every infection is potentially harmful. Left untreated, chronic or recurring ear pain from infections can lead to permanent hearing loss, which in turn can create problems with communication skills. Prompt medical attention is important when your child’s ear pain is accompanied by any of the symptoms listed in the previous section.
Contact Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat whenever you or a family member suffers from ear pain. You can call the office directly at 307-672-0290, or make an appointment with the link on the upper right of this page. We also offer telehealth visits.