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Earache Overview

Earache is very common medical problem for both children and adults. The pain of earache results from inflammation and swelling of the structures that make up the ear, including the external auditory canal, the tympanic membrane, and the middle ear. In rare instances, ear pain is a sensation caused by a problem or infection in the throat (referred ear pain).

  • Myringitis is an inflammation of the tympanic membrane or ear drum.
  • Otitis externa is a skin infection of the outer ear canal. It is the area where wax forms and often occurs after swimming (commonly referred to as swimmer's ear).
  • Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear and eardrum commonly seen in infants and younger children. Otitis media also may affect older children and adults.
Picture of the structures of the ear
Picture of the structures of the ear
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2015
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Swimmers Ear Symptoms

The most common symptom of swimmer's ear is ear pain or earache that gradually begins over a day or two. Other symptoms associated with earache pain include:

  • The ear pain almost always involves only one ear.
  • The ear canal may itch.
  • The outer ear may be red.
  • The ear may drain fluid or pus.
  • Ringing in the ear.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Otitis Media »

Otitis media (OM) is the second most common disease of childhood, after upper respiratory infection (URI).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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