Pain in the ear. Earache is a common symptom, especially in childhood. The most frequent cause is acute otitis media, which results in severe, stabbing pain. Another common cause of earache is otitis externa. The pain may be accompanied by irritation and a discharge of pus. Intermittent earache may accompany dental problems, tonsillitis, throat cancer (see pharynx, cancer of), or pain in the jaw or neck muscles. To determine the cause of earache, the ear is inspected (see ear, examination of). Analgesic drugs may relieve the pain, and antibiotic drugs may be given for infection. Pus in the outer ear may be removed by suction. Pus in the middle ear may be drained by myringotomy.


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