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Earache in Adults

Earache in Adults

People often make an immediate association between earache and ear infection. However, discomfort in and around the ear can be caused by many different problems. This guide will cover the more common reasons for an ear ache.

Since an ear infection is such a common reason for ear pain, let's consider this possibility first.

Most ear infections occur inside the ear. Usually there is no sign of infection on the outside. Redness, pain and swelling on the outside of the ear indicate a different type of infection.

Do you see any redness or swelling on the outside part of the ear?

Yes, the outside of my ear is red and/or swollen.

No, the outside of my ear is not red or swollen.

The discomfort is likely related to a problem deeper in the ear canal or behind the ear drum. An infection may cause just discomfort or it may make you fell unwell with fever and body aches.

Do you have one or more of the following symptoms?

  • feeling unwell

  • fever

  • nasal congestion or other cold symptoms

  • pain when you tug on your earlobe.

Yes, I have one or more of these symptoms.

No, I don't have these other symptoms.

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