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Ear Pain: When to See an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctor

Ear pain can be downright annoying or distressing. While it’s often associated with ear infections, there are many potential causes, which is why knowing when to seek help from an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor can make all the difference in finding relief and preventing complications.

Common Causes of Ear Pain

  • Ear infections are the most common cause of ear pain. Infections in the outer and middle ear are the result of bacterial or viral germs. Symptoms include earaches, fever, drainage from the ear or loss of hearing.
  • Blockages like earwax buildup, fluid accumulation behind the eardrum or a foreign object that becomes lodged in the ear canal can all cause significant pain. Impaired hearing or a feeling of fullness or pressure are also common signs you may have a blockage in your ear.
  • Injury or trauma to the ear, like a perforated eardrum, can be the result of an accident, sudden change in pressure or improper use of objects like cotton swabs.
  • Dysfunction of the Eustachian tube that is responsible for regulating pressure in the ear can lead to a feeling of pressure or hearing changes. Usually, this is caused by allergies, colds or changes in altitude.
  • Dental issues like tooth infections or TMJ joint problems can sometimes manifest as ear pain.

When to See an ENT Doctor

  • Persistent or severe pain, especially if accompanied by fever, drainage or hearing loss, should warrant a prompt visit to an ENT doctor.
  • Recurrent infections or symptoms that persist despite previous treatment may indicate an underlying issue that requires further evaluation by an ENT doctor. They can work to identify the root cause of your ear pain so it can be treated.
  • Difficulty hearing that is sudden or unexplained, whether its partial or complete, should be assessed by an ENT doctor as soon as possible.
  • Trauma to the ear requires immediate evaluation to prevent complications and ensure proper healing.
  • Chronic conditions like allergies or sinusitis may benefit from regular checkups with an ENT doctor to monitor and manage symptoms.

If you are suffering from ear pain, call the ENT physicians at Biltmore ENT at (602) 560-1085.