Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.


beginning of content


Earache is a common complaint, especially in children. It is generally caused by an ear infection, but can also be caused by:

If the pain persists or gets worse, or if you feel sick or have a temperature, see your doctor.

Earache treatments

Some earaches go away on their own and do not need treatment. Simple painkillers like paracetamol can help.

You should see your doctor if:

  • the pain is persisting or is getting worse
  • you are feeling unwell with fevers
  • you have a discharge from your ears
  • it is a child under two who has the ear infection
  • you are worried and unsure what to do.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Ways to ease the pain include:

  • holding a warm cloth or heat pack to your ear
  • covering your ears if cold weather or wind makes symptoms worse.

If you have a discharge, you can gently clean the outer ear with cotton wool. If there is discharge from both ears, use a new piece of cotton wool for each ear.

Last reviewed: August 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 40 results

Otitis media in children -

Otitis media (middle ear infection) is a common childhood illness that typically causes earache and fever.

Read more on myDr website

Teeth grinding

Find out why out the causes of teeth grinding (bruxism), the effects of teeth grinding and what to do if your toddler grinds their teeth in their sleep.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Ear problems in children | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Ear problems -

Common ear problems include otitis media, glue ear, ear wax and swimmer's ear.

Read more on myDr website

Grommet insertion (adult) | Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Grommet insertion (child)

Glue ear is a common condition that usually gets better without any surgery. Surgery is recommended when the condition lasts longer than three months and the hearing loss is causing problems with speech or schooling.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

FLO Kids Saline + Nasal spray -

FLO Kids Saline + Nasal spray - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Oropharyngeal Cancer - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Oropharyngeal Cancer affect the Oropharynx- the part of the throat that helps with speaking and swallowing. Learn more about causes and treatments.

Read more on CanTeen website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Infections in the ear canal (otitis externa or swimmer's ear)

Infections in the ear canal can happen when the lining of the canal is damp such as after spending a lot of time swimming or if it is scratched when something like a cotton bud is poked into the ear canal.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Medicines for your child

Here is some practical and reliable advice about giving your sick infant or child medicine, including what is the right dosage and possible side effects.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo