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Earache: Causes, Symptoms and Treating Otalgia

Speciality Classification
Nurses and Midwives
Start Date
03-Dec-2019
Location
Online
End Date
03-Dec-2022
Delivery
Online
Provider
Ausmed

Earache (otalgia) is the term used to describe feelings of discomfort including pain, pressure or blockage, in one or both ears. 

(Note: this article is intended to provide an overview of adult earaches.)

When an earache presents, the pain may be coming from the ear itself - for example from local inflammation - the pressure between the middle ear and outside air, or a combination of these (Kaylie 2019).

Alternatively, earache can be a result of referred pain, which is an issue in a nearby area that shares the same nerves to the brain as the ear (Kaylie 2019).

The most common reason for ear-related earache pain is a blockage of the passageway between the middle ear and back of the throat. This passage is known as the Eustachian tube (Harvard Health Publishing 2019).

Most earaches resolve within a few days. Even in the case of prolonged ear infections, the prognosis is usually positive (Havard Health Publishing 2019).

Earaches may be caused by an infection or any of the following:

  • Injury;
  • Inflammation or infection within the ear canal - often referred to as ‘swimmer’s ear’;
  • Infection in the external ear and ear lobe ‘cellulitis’;
  • Allergies or irritation;
  • Pain caused by nerve irritation in the ear ‘neuralgia’;
  • An abrupt change in air pressure;
  • An object stuck in the ear;
  • Ear wax build-up;
  • Loud noises;
  • Referred pain, such as from a throat infection;
  • Issues with the jaw; and
  • Dental problems such as an abscess.
Delivery
Title
Earache: Causes, Symptoms and Treating Otalgia
Speciality Classification
Location
Provider Type
Education Provider
Start Date
03-Dec-2019
End Date
03-Dec-2022
CPD Points
4m of CPD
Price
Free
Price Details
Subscription Needed
Location
Online
Price:
Free
Subscription Needed
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