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Which specialties of doctors treat earaches and ear pain?
Earaches and ear pain are very common symptoms, and may be evaluated and cared for by most primary care providers, including family practice specialists, pediatrician, and internal medicine specialists. Urgent care and emergency medicine doctors also evaluate ear pain. Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) are able to care for ear issues and are able to perform surgery on all parts of the ear (externa, middle, internal) and face.
How is the cause of an earache diagnosed?
A health-care professional usually diagnoses the cause of an earache by talking to the patient, parent, or caregiver (taking history) and performing a physical examination. In general, X-rays and other tests are unnecessary.
The health-care professional may use an otoscope to look into the ear canal to evaluate the canal and the ear drum.
The health-care professional also may evaluate other parts of the body including the throat (looking for sore throat or tonsillitis), the neck (feeling for swollen lymph nodes and assessing stiffness), and the lungs (looking for signs of pneumonia). This is especially important if the earache persists and there is no apparent reason for ear pain on examination. Referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist may be necessary to evaluate the structures deeper in the throat with an endoscope (flexible camera) or a mirror.
X-ray, CT and other imaging studies are not usually needed for most cases of ear pain. They may be considered if there is concern for tumors or other structural problems in or adjacent to the ear.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/23/2016
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