If you’re a parent, you know when your child has an ear infection. Crying, irritability, and fever are a few of the telltale signs. But could you recognize an ear infection in yourself? Here’s how to tell if you have an ear infection.

Symptoms include:

  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Earache with sharp or dull pain.
  • Warm drainage from the ear canal
  • Nausea
  • Muffled hearing

Ear infections require prompt treatment, but since they often clear up on their own, treatment may consist of monitoring the ear and prescribing medication for pain. However, symptoms of an ear infection could signify more serious infections. Seek further medical treatment immediately if ear pain is severe or lasts for more than one day.

Symptoms could also signify inflammation and fluid buildup (effusion) in the middle ear without an infection or a chronic ear infection that could tear the eardrum and cause hearing loss.


Though seeing an audiologist or primary care doctor is important to rule out more serious conditions, many treatments are available over-the-counter or in your own home. Treatment of an ear infection may include:

  • Placing a warm compress over the affected ear to lessen pain.
  • Pain medication. Over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen is often recommended to relieve pain caused by ear infections. Use the drugs only as directed.
  • Eardrops. Prescription eardrops may provide additional pain relief in cases where the ear drums are not torn.

If you think you have an ear infection, act quickly. Waiting too long may result in permanent hearing loss. Come into Hearing and Balance Centers of West Tennessee for an evaluation.