Earache : Introduction
Ear ache cannot be considered as a disease. It is a common disorder that can occur to people of any age group. Ear ache occurs because of the inflammation in pinna (also known as outer ear). The ear is one of the five sense organs of body and is vital for the human body. The ear is divided into three parts; the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Balance and hearing are the two important functions of ear. The main cause of ear ache is the perforation or breakage of the ear drum. The main causes of the breakage of the ear drum are infection in the ear, insertion of any foreign object in the ear or any kind of a head injury.
Causes of Ear-Ache
Bacterial and Viral infections are the two main causes of ear ache. It can occur to both the outer ear and the middle ear.
Outer Earache or Otitis Externa: Outer ear ache generally occurs during the summer season because people spend most of their time in swimming pools or lakes. It causes the entry of water in pinna. Water can harm the ear in two ways. First it tends to wash away the cerumen. The cerumen is an ear wax and it acts as a protective layer for ear. Second water contains bacteria, fungus and viruses that can cause infections which results in earache. The external or outer ear provides the most favorable environment for growth of these organisms. In absence of cerumen or ear wax the microorganisms multiply in number and can cause infection to outer ear.
Otitis Media: It occurs mainly in winter season. It can occur because of respiratory system side effects such as cold and flu. Bacteria which are responsible for middle ear ache enters into the middle ear through Eustachian tube, there they can survive easily and can cause infection which in turn is a cause of ear ache.
Symptoms of Ear-Ache
Outer Earache or Otitis Externa: Itching in outer ear is the main cause of Otitis Externa. As the infection grows the ear pain can become so severe that it can become unbearable even on touch.
The other symptom of earache is the swelling inside auditory canal. It makes the auditory canal track narrow due to which it become difficult to hear a very low pitch sound. When this happens, it becomes narrower, making it more difficult for sounds to pass to the middle ear. The patient may even find hearing difficult.
In the most severe cases of this disorder swelling in the outer ear can occur. Fever can also occur in this disorder. The lymphs surrounding the ear become swollen and pain occurs in them.
Otitis Media or Middle Ear: The main symptoms of ache in the middle ear are fever and swelling. Fluid can also flow from the ear. The lymph nodes around the ear get swollen.
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