Skip to content

    Ear Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Topic Overview

    otola_01.jpg

    Ear camera.gif problems may be caused by many different health problems. In children, ear pain is more likely to be a symptom of an inflammation, infection, or fluid buildup in the external or middle ear. But ear pain at any age may be a symptom of:

    Ear problems caused by an injury to the ear can occur at any age. Common injuries include the following:

    • A fall or a forceful, direct blow to the side of the head can burst the eardrum or damage the tiny bones in the inner ear that send sound to the brain.
    • An injury during contact sports can cause an injury, such as "cauliflower" ear from wrestling.
    • Loud noises or explosions can damage the eardrum (acoustic trauma).
    • Atmospheric pressure changes (barotrauma) can cause problems with the eustachian tube and trap air in or keep air out of the middle ear. Middle ear problems can be severe (for example, the eardrum can burst or the middle ear can fill with blood or pus) or mild and only be felt as changes in pressure.
    • Cuts or scrapes may injure the outside of the ear or ear canal. For more information, see the topic Ear Canal Problems (Swimmer's Ear).
    • Cleaning the ear canal too often, too forcefully, or with a cotton swab, bobby pin, or sharp fingernail can cause irritation or injury.
    • Burns or frostbite can cause ear injuries (thermal injuries).
    • Objects placed in the ear can cause injury to the ear canal or the eardrum (tympanic membrane).

    Hearing loss often comes with age. As people get older, ear problems are more likely to be related to:

    • Heredity. The age of onset and how quickly the hearing loss progresses can often be determined by studying family members with hearing loss.
    • The buildup of earwax. For more information, see the topic Earwax.
    • Exposure to loud noises, such as setting off an air bag during a car crash, machines at work, power tools, gunshots, or loud music.
    • Other serious medical problems, such as Ménière's disease or an acoustic neuroma.
    • Skin reaction (dermatitis) on the outside of the ear or in the ear canal from perfume, hair dye, or wearing hearing aids.
    1 | 2

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.