Ear ache – when to see the doctor

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Ear aches are common – and can range from the very mild to the very severe. While minor aches usually resolve themselves, middle ear infection or otitis media can build up into bigger problems. Most people use a variety of home remedies to see if pain or irritation will go away – but watch out for these symptoms – if you experience any of these, it means it is time to go see your doctor:

  • When the earache feels like it is blocking your hearing and you feel a sort of fullness in your ear. If you also have a fever or experienced a respiratory tract infection, see your doctor. If the patient is a baby, rush.
  • When you often get an ear infection, it could get worse and eventually result in hearing loss. 
  • When you have problems with hearing because of the infection.  
  • When you have a ear ache along with nausea and diarrhea.  
  • When you have an almost constant nasal congestion  
  • If you feel dizzy or sense a change in balance.  

If your eardrum appears yellow/red or bulging when the doctor examines it with an otoscope – a special intrument that lets her view inside your ear.  Left untreated, acute ear infections can create pressure in the middle ear and cause the ear drum to burst. When this happens, the fever and pain recede, and the pus drains into the ear canal.

But don’t wait until that happens. If you have persistent ear ache, just go see the doctor.  
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Stay healthy!
Vidya Sury
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After more than a decade in the corporate corporate work, I retired from my corporate career at 33 to focus on family. A change in priorities, and a passion for writing inspired me to start working from home and I am now living my dream as a writer and editor. I write content for clients, blog for businesses and edit manuscripts for publishers/authors. With six blogs of my own and published contributions across the web (The Huffington Post, PTPA, World of Moms, SheKnows), I write to collect smiles and donate to charities. I share stories about all the things I enjoy in life; parenting, mindful living, conversations, coffee, books, food, music, health, DIY, travel, photography and showing my diabetes who’s boss.


  1. Susan

    March 12, 2013 at 3:05 am

    While home remedies are effective in most cases, it is important to know when it is time to seek professional help. When my daughter was younger she used to suffer from frequent earaches and my mother kept trying out all types of home remedies. They usually worked but I remember once when nothing seemed to get rid of the pain. We finally took her to the pediatrician. It appeared my daughter had an acute middle ear infection. Good thing we went when we did because it was still in the early stages and with the proper medical treatment, she was fine in no time at all. I have to admit that that doctor’s visit turned out to be crucial. Earaches

    • Vidya Sury

      March 12, 2013 at 3:30 am

      Hi Susan. I am glad you got to the doc on time, too. Our pediatrician always advised us to go easy on the home remedies when my son was very young. Somehow what worked in the old days may or may not be the right thing to do. And Indian home remedies, while quite excellent, does go by some myths.

      Gosh, I’ll never forget the day when I just removed a hard-ish piece of wax from my son’s ear when he was about 6 years old…I was alarmed – and then my Mom said it was quite normal.

      Have a good day!

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