Causes of earache
Children will sometimes put foreign objects in their ears, which can cause pain.
A build-up of ear wax can block the ear canal and also give your child a sore ear.
Less commonly, the cause of the earache might be a burst eardrum because of an accident, or because a cotton bud or something similar has been pushed too far into your child’s ear.
Ear ache can also be caused by teeth grinding or other dental issues.
Earache usually happens only on one side.
A young baby with an earache might pull or tug the affected ear. She might also seem generally irritable and have trouble sleeping.
Does your child need to see a doctor about earache?
Yes. If your child says he has an earache or sore ear, you should take him to see your GP.
Treatment for earache
Earache treatment depends on the cause of the earache.
If your child has a sore ear because of an ear infection, your GP will consider what’s causing the infection before deciding on treatment. Most infections are caused by viruses, so antibiotics won’t help. Your GP will prescribe antibiotics only if the infection is caused by bacteria.
For things stuck in a child’s ear, the treatment will usually depend on what the object is. If it’s something soft like a corn kernel, the doctor might use fine forceps or a special spoon to get it out. If it’s hard – for example, a plastic bead from a necklace – the doctor might use a special syringe to flush out the object.
Never try to remove an object from your child’s ear yourself.
If the earache is caused by a burst eardrum, the eardrum will usually fix itself. It’s still important that your GP checks your child.
If the sore ear is caused by a nearby infection like tonsillitis or sinusitis, your GP will tell you what to do about these conditions.