Most of us at some time or another experience ear pain. If the pain turns out to be an ear infection, then what to do?
Well, assuming you are older than 2 (at times in my case my wife might dispute this), then you should first decide whether a doctor visit is in order. If there is any discharge including pus, blood or clear fluid then yes you should head over to you doctor or the emergency room. If you have a high fever, redness around the ear or stiff neck then yes again seek some medical help.
Yet many times you might just have some pain, a little decreased hearing and maybe some dizziness. Most of the time you will either have a middle ear infection. In the past doctors have treated all such ear infections with antibiotics and most got better. Problem was the most sufferers would have gotten better with or without antibiotics. In fact over 95% of ear infections in adults are caused by viruses not by bacteria. So you will get better either way and why not avoid the antibiotics in the first place?
Other conditions can cause ear pain. These include dental cavities or other mouth infections, pain referred from the neck or rarely even the chest, inner ear calcification causing vertigo, scalp infections and a whole slew of problems which is why it takes so long to become a doctor.
The next time you have ear pain, consider whether you need to rush over to ER or whether a bit of Ibuprofen instead might do the trick.