Pain behind your ear can be caused by several different factors. Depending on the cause, the pain could feel like pressure behind the ear, or it might be described as burning, sharp or throbbing.
One of the most common causes is an ear infection. Let’s look at several different types of ear infections, as well as what you can do to treat the problem.
Middle Ear Infections
Infections in the middle ear are common. The area can become inflamed and eventually infected. Viral respiratory tract conditions like colds and cases of flu are often triggers for middle ear infections.
- Mild to severe earache or pain
- Muffled/decreased hearing
- Children with a middle ear infection may be fussy and pull at their ear.
Swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection that occurs when the ear canal becomes inflamed. Symptoms can include:
- Tenderness of the outer ear
- Itchy ear
- Hearing loss.
- Ear discharge.
Swimmer’s ear can sometimes be caused by allergies or infection. However, there are also certain risk factors that make you more prone to the condition, including frequently using cotton swabs to clean your ear or swimming. If you notice any of these symptoms after taking a dip in the pool at Lake Jackson Recreation Center you may have swimmer’s ear.
Ear infections can easily be treated with antibiotics. These are usually in the form of ear drops or pills. It’s important to seek medical attention and get proper treatment so that your condition doesn’t worsen and become more serious.
When an Ear Infection is Something More
Left untreated, ear infections can sometimes turn into mastoiditis, a rare and dangerous infection of the mastoid bone, located behind and below your ear. It can occur at any age but is most often seen in children under two. Symptoms include:
- Severe pain behind the ear
If left untreated, mastoiditis can lead to serious conditions including:
- Blood clots
- Hearing loss
- Facial nerve paralysis
Mastoiditis often requires intravenous antibiotics and surgical draining of fluid. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms, please seek medical care immediately.
Ear infections are a common cause of behind-the-ear pain. While most are not serious, it’s still important to seek proper medical attention so that it doesn’t turn into a dangerous condition like mastoiditis.
For more information on ear infections or to make an appointment with one of our experts, call Lake Jackson ENT today.