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It really is heart-wrenching when you see your kid in pain. One such pain that your child can suffer from time to time is ear pain. There are various reasons that can cause such pain in kids. 

This blog discusses some preventive measures that can be taken to lower the chances of ear pain in your kid. Moreover, it will help you know what are the causes behind the ear pain, the symptoms to look out for and the possible treatment options to opt.  

Prevention of Ear Pain in Kids


Symptoms of ear pain in kids

In addition to terrible earache, take your child immediately to an ENT doctor if you observe any of the following symptoms in your kids. 

  • Redness or swelling of the outer ear
  • Pulling the ears regularly
  • Rubbing the ears regularly
  • Drainage of the ear
  • Problem in hearing 
  • The popping of the ears
  • The fullness of the ears
  • Extreme irritability and fussiness 
  • Disruption of sleep 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Keep losing their balance 
  • Vomiting
  • Terrible headache 
  • Fever 

Causes of ear pain in kids

Ear infections 

Acute otitis media

This is a common condition in young children, in which there is visible inflammation of the eardrum. Not only young children, but newborn babies are also susceptible to develop this infection. The age group of 6-24 months is at a higher risk of suffering from this ear infection. By the age of 3, two-thirds of children suffer from at least one episode of acute otitis media. This is the major reason children miss out on school and adds up to the potential to develop chronic ear issues. 

Otitis media with effusion (OME)

This is simply the collection of fluid in the middle ear. The fluid can get collected due to a cold, sore throat or infection in the upper respiratory tract. The frequency of this infection is higher in children between 6 months and 3 years. Around eighty percent of children of ten years suffer from at least one episode of OME. 

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is an infection or irritation that occurs in the skin lining the ear canal. The name is so as the infection is more prevalent in swimmers and occurs in the summertime. Apart from acute pain in the ear, the child can also complain about terrible itching in the ear canal. 

Injury to the ear canal

You can hurt or cause a scrape in the ear canal while cleaning your child’s ear with a cotton swab or fingernail. 

Abscesses in the ear canal

Abscesses can form in the hair follicle in the ear canal. This can cause pain in the ears and even, a small red bump that looks similar to a pimple.

Excess build-up of earwax 

Earwax is important to keep the ears clean. Parents can push the wax by cotton swabs while cleaning their child’s ear. This leads to blockage of the ear canal that can cause mild ear pain. (Also Read: What does Ear Wax Indicate for Your Health? )

Inserting a sharp object in the ear canal

Children can put sharp objects such as toys or pencils inside the ears by mistake. This can cause severe pain or injury inside the kid’s ear canal.

Change in pressure

A sudden change in air or water pressure can stretch the eardrum. This generally occurs when a flight is landing or during mountain driving.

Pain due to other primary reasons 

The pain in your child’s ear can be due to something not related to the ear directly but other ENT problems such as tonsillitis, tooth decay. 

Treatment of ear pain in kids  

Ear pain is the most common complaint due to which parents take their children to a pediatrician. Fortunately, there are some effective tips that parents should keep in mind while dealing with the earache in kids. Some of them are discussed below-

  • The ear pain can be due to an ear infection. Look at the eardrum and check for symptoms.
  • Unless pain is due to an injury, it is safe to wait for the doctor’s office to open to get diagnosed.
  • Antibiotics can help get relief from acute ear pain.
  • By the time you talk with the doctor, try the following home care advice-

-Give an acetaminophen product to help your child get relief from the pain.

-An alternative is an ibuprofen product.

-Apply cold or hot wet washcloth in the outer ear region for 20 minutes. Make sure it is not too nor too cold as it can cause a burn or frostbite.

-If there is continuous discharge from the ear, wipe it clean rather than putting cotton balls.

-Keep your child hydrated so give him or her lots of fluids.

-Elevate your baby’s head by placing pillows under the mattress rather than placing them directly under the baby’s head.

Before Goodbye

If your child is complaining of severe ear pain, this indicates that there can be some other serious issues such as perforation of the eardrum. In such cases, doctors suggest a tympanoplasty surgery. As this is a serious issue, leaving it untreated is not wise especially in children. Contact your ENT doctor as soon as possible!


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