Earache is a common complaint, especially in children. It is generally caused by an ear infection, but can also be caused by:
- allergies or irritation
- changes in air pressure, such as when you take off or land in a plane
- an object in the ear
- an injury
- loud noises.
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