When to Seek Care for Ear Pain New York, NY
People with severe ear pain that does not go away within a few days or accompanies other symptoms such as a fever or sore throat should seek care. Ear pain alone is generally not concerning and will usually go away by itself after a few days. However, ear pain with other symptoms may signify a more severe condition that requires medical attention.
The causes of ear pain can range from minor issues to severe health issues. Our team at Marina Gafanovich, MD in New York and the surrounding area provides care for ear pain. Call us today at (212) 548-3263 to schedule an appointment with our primary care doctor or learn more about our services.
Understanding Ear Pain
While children typically experience ear pain more frequently than adults, adults can have ear pain too. People do not have to experience an infection or something wrong with their ears to experience ear pain. There are many different possible causes of ear pain, including a middle ear infection, outer ear infection, air pressure changes, or earwax buildup.
Ear pain may also accompany trauma to the head. In this case, people should seek prompt medical attention as it may indicate a brain injury. While it is possible to manage ear pain at home, in some cases, people must see a primary care doctor for professional medical care.
“People do not have to have an infection or something wrong with their ears to experience ear pain.”
Ear Pain Symptoms
The symptoms of ear pain will vary depending on its underlying cause. For example, a middle ear infection causes fluid to build up inside the inner ear and Eustachian tube. This may lead to symptoms such as ear pain, fever, and difficulty sleeping. While not all symptoms are indicative of an issue that requires professional medical intervention, some are.
People with a fever of 102.2°F or higher or experiencing hearing loss should see a primary care doctor for treatment before any damage becomes permanent. Pain that does not start to subside until about 24 to 48 hours after also requires medical attention. A low fever or discharge from the ear may be a sign of infection, while pain that worsens when blowing the nose or tugging on the earlobe may indicate a more severe issue.
While people may want to wait out their ear pain at home, a professional examination and treatment are crucial. Even if the symptoms do not seem severe, they can become more severe over time. Our team can help to diagnose the source of the pain and recommend treatment.
“The symptoms of ear pain will vary depending on its underlying cause.”
Treatment for Ear Pain
A primary care doctor may prescribe antibiotics for ear pain caused by an infection. These antibiotics will usually come in the form of ear drops. It is essential to complete the entire course of antibiotics for an ear infection, even after the ear pain has disappeared. Otherwise, the bacteria that initially triggered the infection may cause the ear infection to return.
Over-the-counter decongestants may be given to patients with ear pain resulting from congestion. Children with ear pain may receive over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. A primary care doctor can recommend the right dose for a child's specific needs by taking their pain levels, age, and other bodily factors into account.
“A primary care doctor may prescribe antibiotics for ear pain caused by an infection.”
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Ear Pain Caused By Other Illnesses
Ear pain can be symptomatic of many illnesses other than ear infections. For example, inner ear pain is often a sign of mastoiditis, auditory tube disruption, or a ruptured eardrum. Mastoiditis is a rare condition in which a middle ear infection has spread to the mastoid bone, causing headaches and redness or swelling behind the ear.
Auditory tube dysfunction can also cause ear pain when the auditory tube opens or closes abnormally. This condition frequently occurs due to sudden atmospheric pressure changes, such as when one goes scuba diving. Auditory tube disruption may also lead to ruptured eardrums. Other illnesses that can lead to referred ear pain, which is ear pain that indicates a problem elsewhere in the body.
The ears are connected to other parts of the neck and head, especially the nose and throat. Some common examples of referred ear pain include sinusitis, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD), and tonsillitis. Our team can determine the cause of a patient's ear pain to determine the optimal treatment plan for their needs.
“Ear pain can be symptomatic of many illnesses other than ear infections.”
Questions Answered on This Page
People Also Ask
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What causes ear pain?
A. The most common cause of pain in the ear is an infection. Children get ear infections, often during colds or allergies. When tubes in their ears get blocked, ear pain can result. It is essential to seek medical attention if the pain is not getting better. Other causes of ear pain include excessive ear wax, a change in air pressure, or another problem near the ear.
Q. Can a loud noise cause ear pain?
A. People who have jobs that regularly expose them to loud sounds, such as industrial equipment, may be at risk for acoustic trauma. Acoustic trauma causes damage to the eardrum and the muscles in the inner ear. Symptoms may include a buzzing sound, ear pain, and hearing loss.
Q. How is an ear infection treated?
A. A primary care doctor can diagnose an ear infection by examining the inner ear. If the ear infection is not improving, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics for a bacterial infection. For minor infections, ear drops can help reduce the pain. In extreme cases, surgery may be required if the pain does not go away.
Q. What is acute otitis media?
A. Acute otitis media (AOM) is a type of ear infection in one or both ears. It is the most common type of ear infection. It is a short-term infection that comes on suddenly, causing sharp pain in the ear. This infection can occur after swelling in the middle ear, leading to eardrum pressure and pain.
Q. How do I tell if my infant has an ear infection?
A. It can be difficult to tell if an infant has an ear infection. Some signs of an ear infection include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, hearing loss, extreme fussiness, difficulty sleeping, and drainage from the ear. Depending on the age of the patient, symptoms may differ. If an infant experiences any of these symptoms, parents should seek prompt medical care.
Q. Is swimmer's ear contagious?
A. Swimmer's ear happens when water is trapped in the ear canal and allows bacteria to grow. Individuals may notice pain when pulling on the earlobe. However, because the bacteria are inside the ear, this infection is not contagious. We may recommend antibiotic ear drops to help treat the symptoms.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
Definition of Medical Terminology
- A treatment option used to reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications are often used to treat bruising, especially bruises caused by a physical injury.
- A disease in which bacteria, viruses, or other harmful substances invade the body and reproduce rapidly. Our body is then responsible for fighting off the infection.
Call Us Today
When experiencing persistent ear pain, seeking professional care from a primary care doctor is crucial to minimize discomfort and prevent further complications. Our team at Marina Gafanovich, MD is here to help. Call us today at 212-548-3263 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Helpful Related Links
- American Journal of Medicine. American Journal of Medicine. 2022
- American Medical Association (AMA). American Medical Association (AMA). 2022
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