What causes earache?
Earaches are very common among children and less so among adults. The most common earache is the one experienced during a cold or flu. During a cold, fluid can build up in the middle of the ear and press against the eardrum causing dull, throbbing pain. In some cases, the fluid can become infected and this is called acute otitis media (middle ear infection). Infections can be due to bacteria, or as in the case of colds, due to a virus.
Children are more susceptible to earaches because their Eustachian tube is shorter and less slanted, allowing more bacteria to travel from their upper respiratory tract to their middle ear. According to WebMD, earaches account for 30 million doctor visits a year. When adults have earaches, it is usually because fluid or mucus gets trapped in their Eustachian tubes.
Other causes of earaches can be built up earwax, throat infections, dental abscesses, or infected hair follicles. In extreme cases earaches can be caused by a perforated, or ruptured, eardrum.
Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.