If you have earache, you may also have other symptoms, like a high temperature or hearing loss. Earache can be harder to spot in young children.

Taking painkillers and placing a warm or cold flannel on your ear can help ease earache. You can also get treatments like eardrops from a pharmacy.

Common causes of earache include ear infections, a build-up of earwax in your ear and fluid in your ear (glue ear).

Spotting earache in babies and young children

A young child might have earache if they:

  • rub or pull their ear
  • do not react to some sounds
  • have a temperature of 38C or above
  • are irritable or restless
  • are off their food
  • keep losing their balance

Earache and ear pain can affect 1 or both ears.

How to treat earache yourself

There are some things you can do to help relieve earache and ear pain.

  • use painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (children under 16 should not take aspirin)

  • place a warm or cold flannel on the ear

  • do not put anything inside your ear, such as cotton buds

  • do not try to remove earwax

  • do not let water get inside your ear

A pharmacist can help with earaches

A pharmacist might be able to tell you:

  • what you can do to treat earache yourself
  • if you can buy anything to help (for example, eardrops)
  • if you need to see a GP

What causes earache and pain

Earache and pain can be caused by many things, but sometimes it's not known by what.

Here are some of the most common causes:

[Last reviewed 2019-08-06]
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