Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Ear Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older
Ear 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:
Hearing loss often comes with age. As people get older, ear
problems are more likely to be related to:
The ear shares nerves with other parts of the face, eyes, jaw,
teeth, and upper neck. Pain that feels as if it is in the ear may be coming
from another part of the head or neck. This is called
referred ear pain and is more common in older adults.
Causes of referred ear pain can include dental problems, jaw pain (temporomandibular disorder), salivary gland infection, or a
symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need
Call911or other emergency services now.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
If you're not sure if a fever is high, moderate, or mild,
think about these issues:
With a high fever:
With a moderate fever:
With a mild fever:
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Temperature varies a little depending on how you measure it.
For adults and children age 12 and older, these are the ranges for high,
moderate, and mild, according to how you took the temperature.
Oral (by mouth) temperature
A forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature.
Ear or rectal temperature
Armpit (axillary) temperature
Symptoms of an external ear infection
Vertigo is the feeling that you or
your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. It may feel like
spinning, whirling, or tilting. Vertigo may make you sick to your stomach, and
you may have trouble standing, walking, or keeping your balance.
Symptoms of a stroke may
Pain in adults and older children
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Home treatment may be all that is
needed to relieve minor or intermittent ear discomfort.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
You may be able to prevent ear
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofMay 27, 2016
Current as of:
May 27, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.