Ear Pain in Kids
The cause of ear pain in both children and adults is blocked Eustachian tubes, which when functioning normally keep the air pressure even on both sides of the eardrum. Anyone who's experienced ear pain knows that it feels worse at night. When you're lying down, these tubes can't drain naturally and you're not swallowing as often, which makes them contract. The air in the middle ear is absorbed, creating a vacuum that causes pain by sucking the eardrum inward.
Reasons of ear pain are acute infections of the middle ear or the ear canal; enlarged adenoids; or a bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the external part of the ear. Wearing ear phones or ear plugs either to listen to your iPod, to swim, or to muffle loud noises, any germs that may lurk on these items can cause an infection and pain. Ear pain can also accompany sinus infections, colds or allergies. Air pressure changes when traveling by plane or when scuba diving, and even seemingly innocuous things like small hairs from a haircut entering the ear and irritating it can lead to ear pain. There is also referred ear pain from a different ailing body part (e.g., tonsils, throat, teeth, jaw, tongue). In infants, teething can cause ear pain, and in children and adults, dental decay can do the same thing.
Swimmer's ear occurs when water gets into the ear, most often while showering, and it can't be expelled, which leads to ear pain and transient deafness.
Another very unpleasant inner ear disorder is Ménière's disease, which can lead to permanent hearing loss. If you periodically experience vertigo or dizziness, tinnitus (ear noises), hearing loss and ear pain or pressure, you may have this condition. Ménière's disease is caused by a change in fluid volume in the labyrinth of the inner ear that produces swelling and can actually rupture the membranes so that the different ear fluids mix together. It has also been postulated that Ménière's disease comes from viral infections, noise pollution and various biological factors. Ménière's disease attacks are very unpredictable and vary widely in intensity from person to person, but when they happen, usually all you can do is lay low and keep as still as possible.
Often just getting the excess wax professionally removed from your ears will help. And remember never to stick a Q-tip in your ear to try to clean it yourself because you may end up rupturing your eardrum.
What you can do about ear pain depends, of course, on what's causing it. more