Ear Pain in Infants and Children

Your child may experience ear pain from time to time. The pain may be caused by an ear infection, or other things, such as an injury to the ear. Children also may have other feelings in their ears. Some kids have ringing in their ears or don't hear well because of earwax in the ear canal or fluid behind the eardrum.

Answering the questions in this health decision guide will help you understand more about what usually causes children to have ear pain, and help you know what you can do for the pain and when you should contact your pediatrician for medical care. Contact your pediatrician immediately if you notice that your child is not acting well or is confused, has difficulty breathing, severe stomach pain, or a stiff neck.

Please note, this guide is not meant to take the place of a visit to your pediatrician's office.

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While your older child can tell you when he has an earache, your baby or toddler cannot. Young children may show ear pain in other ways.

Can your child tell you that he has an earache?

Yes, my child can tell me that.

No, my child cannot talk yet.

Even though your baby can not talk, you may be concerned that he is trying to tell you that he is in pain.

We must look carefully for signs of illness in young babies, since their infection-fighting (immune) systems are not yet fully developed.

Is your child younger than three months of age?

Yes, my child is younger than three months of age.

No, my child is three months or older.

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