When Should I Visit the Doctor for Ear Pain?

ear doctor examining patient with otoscopeDue to wax buildup, inflammation, or other external factors, mild ear pain may come and go without incident for many individuals. However, sometimes ear pain can indicate a larger problem that should be addressed by a doctor. Here’s how to know when to visit a doctor for ear pain.

When Fever or Other Symptoms Strike

Sometimes, ear pain and other symptoms come on at the same time. When this happens, it may be a sign that a patient has developed an ear infection. Though the most common symptom associated with ear infections is a high fever, it may also result in swelling around the ear, difficulty moving one’s face, lethargy, or even seizures. When addressed by a doctor in a timely fashion, ear infections are typically not a cause for great concern and can be treated with prescription antibiotics.

When Hearing Loss Occurs

If ear pain is associated with hearing loss, it’s important to seek professional attention immediately. Hearing loss, which may be temporary or permanent, should be addressed as early as possible, especially since untreated hearing loss can affect a person’s physical, emotional, and mental health. A physician will be able to assess whether ear pain and hearing loss are the result of earwax buildup, an ear infection, a perforated eardrum, or another cause. An audiologist will be able to determine the presence of any hearing loss.

Addressing Ear Pain at Home

Not all ear pain requires medical attention, and if it only lasts a short time and does not have other symptoms, it may be addressed at home. Using pain medication to reduce inflammation and aches can help, along with using a hot compress to alleviate discomfort. However, if even mild symptoms of ear pain persist, it’s best to seek medical attention, just in case.

Although ear pain is often harmless, it may also be a symptom of hearing loss. Additionally, untreated ear infections can become complicated and result in hearing loss. If you have ear pain that needs to be treated or are interested in completing a hearing loss assessment, schedule an appointment with our doctors at the Associated Hearing Professionals today.