Little kids

How do I know that the baby’s ears hurt?


Inflammation of the ear endure 62% of infants up to a year. Babies from three months to three years are considered more vulnerable. In infants, the immune system is weaker than in adults and more difficult to resist infections. Also, the middle ear is inflamed and may be sick due to eating disorders, infection and milk penetration during feeding. Otitis is average, internal, external. Often, against the background of a sore throat / ARVI, acute otitis media develops in the ear.

Infants are more susceptible to this danger due to the underdevelopment of the hearing aid - the ear canal is wider and shorter, microbes get into it faster, causing inflammation.

Such a disease in infants requires immediate treatment in order to avoid complications.

How to determine baby otitis

Symptoms of otitis media in infants: temperature (39–40 ° C), loud increasing crying, especially when trying to touch the ear. The baby cries a lot, sucks weakly and barely sleeps. At four months, the baby shows that his ear hurts - trying to close it with a pen or rubbing it against a pillow. Inflammation that affects the eardrum, accompanied by pus and ichor of the ear. Vomiting and diarrhea in infants occurs in severe pathology. What can be done:

  1. Do not force feed the baby when the ears hurt - it can be painful.
  2. Carefully monitor the baby - after a postponed respiratory infection, otitis occurs as a complication, due to mucus in the ear.
  3. Noticing his actions - when a child has an ear ache, he tries to lie on the sore side or pull him. The aching and shooting pain makes the baby whiny and capricious.
  4. To measure the temperature of the baby - with otitis, it is often elevated to 39 degrees.
  5. Press on the ear tragus - a small tubercle covering the auditory canal. If the baby cries - it means that the ear is sick.

Having noticed similar symptoms, it is necessary to call an ambulance or an ENT doctor to prescribe an appropriate treatment.

First Aid Baby

In otitis, fatty ointments with a warming effect are contraindicated in babies. Do not put cotton wool in the ears, in order to avoid the risk of reproduction of microbes and fungi.

In some cases, babies with perforation of the membrane lay cotton wool in the ear with vaseline oil, avoiding the ingress of water. Effective action to relieve ear pain in a baby:

  • At high temperatures, the child is given antipyretic on the basis of paracetamol. It is forbidden to give aspirin or analgin! ENT-organs are closely interconnected, therefore the disease often goes along with rhinitis. The mucus must be carefully removed from the nose, and for sanitation use a spray with sea water. Also vasoconstrictive drops are contraindicated in infants,
  • The first symptoms usually appear at night. Relieve pain in infants will help compress, moistened with a solution of water and vodka in the ratio of 1: 1. Compress is applied to the ear, pre-lubricated with baby cream. Well wrung gauze impose, leaving the passage and the auricle open. Such procedures are prohibited in case of prolonged inflammation with purulent secretions,
  • In the treatment of young children, propolis is widely used. Its healing properties have been proven by many studies. It effectively removes the main symptoms: pain, purulent inflammation of the middle ear, unpleasant smell, activates the processes of regeneration and improves immunity. Recurrent inflammation in the middle ear is fraught with chronic otitis media and even the appearance of a scar on the eardrum. It was then shown 10% alcohol tincture of propolis.

Treatment of the disease

Only a doctor is able to determine and confirm the presence of otitis in the infant, and also to prescribe appropriate treatment. The methods of treatment are varied, together giving a good therapeutic effect - it is antibacterial and analgesic therapy, physiotherapy. On average, treatment lasts from five to ten days. Otitis media in infants up to two years of treatment with antibiotics. Older babies are given antibiotics at temperatures above 38 degrees. Often parents are afraid to give children antibiotics, for fear of harming their immunity. However, modern drugs are rapidly eliminated from the body, with no special consequences. In this case, self-medication is strictly prohibited.

Without timely treatment to the doctor there is a risk of complications in the form of scars on the eardrum.

When the disease starts in infants develop hearing loss, purulent chronic otitis. Without surgical care can not do.


Infant health requires special attention, since their immunity is not sufficiently developed. Infants do not know how to talk, so it is difficult to determine where and what hurts them, and a sore ear delivers unbearable torment. You should be attentive and sensitive to your child in order to recognize and fix the problem in time.

What is otitis and why do babies' ears hurt?

Sore ears in a child

Arising in the human ear, in any of its departments, the process of inflammation is called otitis. The disease can occur in catarrhal, lung, or purulent, threatening serious complications, form. The occurrence of this pathological condition, accompanied by excruciating pains, affects people of any age category, but most often diagnose otitis in infants. This is due, primarily, to the age imperfection of the structure of their auditory canal, namely, its narrowness, which leads to frequent blockages.

Most often, the ear of an infant child in the middle section hurts, for which there are several reasons:

  • Banal hypothermia. A small draft or light breeze can provoke a cold in the infant and, as a result, the development of otitis.
  • Mom's inattention. If the baby is put to sleep, without letting him regurgitate the air after feeding, the child will do so in a dream. In this case, the remnants of the mixture or milk are guaranteed to fall into the ear canal and provoke the beginning of the inflammatory process in it.
  • Frequent crying babies. This factor provokes a congestion in the nose and in the area of ​​the nasopharynx of a large amount of mucous exudate that the baby cannot remove on its own. Mucus becomes a favorable environment for the development of pathogenic microflora, which easily penetrates into the Eustachian tube and causes ear inflammation.

Important! It is easy to understand whether the baby’s ears hurt or if he is crying for another reason, despite the fact that the newborn cannot tell his parents about his feelings. It is enough to know the symptoms of otitis characteristic of small children, and carefully observe the crumbs. This knowledge is very important, because only timely treatment of the process of inflammation that develops in the middle ear can protect a child from acute pain and more serious consequences.

How to identify and verify that the baby's ears hurt?

In the diagnosis of diseases that develop in newborns, an important role is given to the behavior of the crumbs and the available objective signs, because a young child, unlike adults, cannot complain about indisposition and unpleasant sensations. How to understand that a baby has an ear ache? The first thing that can say about the development of otitis in a baby is the sudden lethargy. From this point on, you need to double your attention to the behavior of the crumbs. Pediatricians recommend parents to pay attention to the fact that when a baby’s ears hurt, the first symptoms he will have are capriciousness and tearfulness. In addition, the baby, like adult patients suffering from earache, loses appetite.

The specific symptoms that can confirm that otitis media develops in infants will be the following symptoms:

  • Infants cry for no reason, scream from time to time and constantly turn their heads.
  • Scarce, lying in bed, trying to take a forced position - pressed his ear, which feels pain, to the pillow, even if he is uncomfortable.
  • The baby refuses to perform sucking movements. This factor is a direct evidence of the fact that the baby has obvious symptoms of otitis, because when the ear of a child is sore, any sucking movement increases the pain.

Worth knowing! Often parents are interested in pediatricians not only how to find out if the baby's ear hurts, but also ask how to check for inflammation in the Eustachian tube. Make it easy. Inflammation of the ear of an infant confirms a light touch to the cartilage covering the ear canal. If the child reacts to this by shouting and will retract the head, it is necessary to urgently consult a doctor.

First aid for ear pain in infants

Inspection of the baby specialist

Any parent should know that only a qualified doctor can treat otitis in a baby after a thorough diagnosis. But what to do before taking a doctor, because the pain in the ear is always so strong that it causes unbearable suffering for the baby? Pediatricians recommend in this case to provide emergency assistance to the child.

If the ear of an infant is sore, you need to perform 2 simple manipulations:

  1. Give crumbs baby anesthetic. Any syrup from a home kit on the basis of Ibuprofen or Paracetamol will do. Efferalgan, Ibuklin, Panadol will help not only to stop the pain, but also eliminate the heat.
  2. To drip nasal drops of Xymelin 0.05% or Otrivin Baby. They effectively constrict blood vessels, which stops the pressure on the eardrum and the middle part of the auditory canal, helps to stop the pain syndrome accompanying ear inflammation. This action must be performed even if the baby does not have a runny nose and nasal breathing is not difficult.

After giving the infant first aid to relieve the painful symptoms in the ear, you need to wait for the district pediatrician to appoint a treatment, or to take the baby to the doctor yourself. In the latter case, a dry cotton wool should be inserted into the child's ear, and a cap or kerchief should be put on the head.

Treatment of acute pain and otitis media in infants

Since ear inflammation is an infectious disease, often accompanied by suppurations and rupture of the eardrum, babies are required to have drug therapy. She is appointed only after the doctor has found out the form of otitis in the infant.

Usually for the youngest children use the following therapeutic course, effectively stopping all the negative symptoms of otitis:

  1. Painkillers In the treatment of pediatric otitis, these funds occupy a special place, because the pain that accompanies ear inflammation is painful. Usually, small children are prescribed paracetamol for children. The drug, which relieves pain syndrome effectively, is produced in the form of candles, soluble tablets or syrup, which facilitates its use in infants.
  2. Antipyretic. Calpol, Nurofen, Children's Panadol help very well. With their help, a young child gets a temperature quickly and side effects do not appear as after taking Aspirin, prohibited in pediatrics.
  3. Ear drops. Most often, if the ear hurts a child of infancy, Otinum and Otipaks are prescribed. Their babies are buried three times a day in a slightly warmed form (before the procedure, the medicine bottle is released for a couple of minutes in warm water). The course of treatment should not exceed 10 days.
  4. Nasal means. Pediatricians consider children's Navizin the best option. It is recommended that the droplets should be instilled three times a day, most recently before bedtime. This drug removes mucus from the nose and maintains the patency of the Eustachian tube due to the effective narrowing of the nasal vessels.

In case of purulent otitis, antibacterial therapy is necessary. Antibiotics for the smallest patients are prescribed in the form of suspensions or syrups. The drugs of choice for pediatricians and otolaryngologists are Klacid and Amoxiclav, since they are completely safe and allowed even to newborns. The course of taking antibacterial agents is a week, and the dosage is calculated exclusively by the attending physician depending on certain indicators. In case of a complicated course of the disease, the child may be prescribed i / m or intravenous medication, and if pus accumulates in large numbers behind the eardrum, it is punctured.

Important! All therapeutic measures for young patients should be prescribed exclusively by doctors. Trust the pharmacist from the nearest pharmacy or a neighbor, advising a folk remedy, in any case should not be. The late initiation of therapeutic measures and their inadequate conduct in this case threaten not only a decrease in hearing, but also the development of more dangerous consequences. Therefore, do not experiment with the health of your own child.

Traditional medicine for otitis in infants

It is not always possible to treat inflammation of the ear in a young child with the help of recipes that have been tested for centuries. Before making a decision to cure otitis media in infants with folk remedies, it is necessary to consult a doctor who knows the nature of the course of the crumbs of the inflammatory process. Only a qualified specialist will be able to recommend the most appropriate in a particular situation, traditional methods of treatment of the disease.

Dry heat application

Most often otolaryngologists advise mothers of infants, if the baby has no temperature, use the following:

  • If a child’s ear hurts badly, dry heat helps well. A bottle of hot water, a canvas bag with calcined sea salt or river sand is wrapped additionally in a terry towel and applied to the diseased ear.
  • Effective in this situation, and clay compress. It removes well the inflammatory process and relieves pain. Clay is diluted with water to the thickness of sour cream and spread with a thick layer on the fabric. The finished compress is applied for 2 hours on the parotid area, having previously plugged the baby’s ear with a cotton swab.

Worth knowing! It is categorically contraindicated to eliminate the symptoms of otitis in children up to 2 years with the help of alcohol compresses or instillation of self-made means into the ears. These methods, in most cases effective in older children, can seriously harm the smallest patients, provoking them to transfer the catarrhal form of the disease into purulent and further rupture of the eardrum.

Otitis prevention in children under one year

So that a baby does not suddenly start ear inflammation, it is necessary first of all with increased attention to treat any colds and ENT diseases. This will help to avoid many childhood complications, among which otitis media is far from the last in infants.

In addition to adequate control of respiratory diseases, a number of preventive measures will help prevent the development of the pathological phenomenon:

  • Feeding the infant should be carried out only in a semi-vertical position. This will not allow the flow of milk or the mixture into the nasopharynx with its subsequent penetration into the ear canal.
  • It is necessary to bathe the baby in a special rubber cap to prevent water from getting into his ears. If this trouble cannot be avoided, it is necessary to carefully clean and dry the ear canal.
  • Special attention should be paid to cleaning the nasal passages from mucous exudate. The baby cannot yet blow its own nose, therefore it is necessary to suck the mucus from its nose regularly.
  • Ears of babies are cleaned once a week. All the action of an adult is to remove from the surface of the ear canal excess sulfur accumulated there. But when a child’s ear hurts, this procedure is not carried out, as it can provoke an increase in the inflammatory process.

Observing these precautions and regularly tempering the baby can significantly reduce the risk of developing an otitis crumbs.

Causes of otitis media in babies

Most often, otitis develops in infants for the following reasons:

  1. Recurrent or severe lesions of the nasopharynx. As a result of the penetration of mucous secretions and pathogens through the tubes, pathogens can enter the tissues of the organs of hearing.
  2. Adenoids. Enlarged tonsils may be infected. In addition, adenoids increase the risk of developing side pathologies due to the violation of the position of the anatomical ducts. In the later stages, the child must breathe through the mouth, which prevents the natural purification of air from pathogens and dust particles.
  3. Injury. The most common cause of otitis development is improper hygiene. Parents use standard ear sticks instead of special ones and try to clean the internal cavities. This leads to a breach of the integrity of the integument due to incompletely formed protective shells.
  4. Fluid in the ear. Drops of moisture may be in the cavity as a result of improper swimming or feeding. Sometimes the cause is excessive humidity in the room. The fluid can create optimal conditions for the development of pathogens. Often in water and food contains pathogens.
  5. Allergy. With frequent disorders of the immune system, degenerative changes in the tissues are observed, which increase the risk of infection.
  6. Anomalies of the structure. Из-за чрезмерного искривления проходов, отсутствия естественных изгибов, сильного расширения путей и иных отклонений патогенам становится легче проникать в организм.
  7. Слабый иммунитет. In most cases, the body independently destroys single pathogens that have accidentally entered the cavity from the external environment. However, in case of severe immunodeficiency, even a low concentration of bacteria in the air can cause the disease. The risk of developing pathology increases if the child is fed with artificial compounds.
  8. Congenital pathologies of the pulmonary system. When breathing disorders and frequent diseases form irregular habits, there is a risk of tissue infection and the spread of infection.
  9. Sudden pressure drops in the eardrum. The displacement of anatomical structures increases the risk of bacteria penetration. Overfalls are often observed during long trips or during flights.

For the development of the disease requires a combination of several factors. In order to recognize the signs of pathology in time, it is necessary to analyze when changes occurred and what preceded it. It is necessary to take into account feeding episodes, flights, walks.


The inflammatory process may have a different nature of origin and localization. To determine the course of treatment, it is important to make an accurate diagnosis, since the medicines are selected depending on the cause of the progression of the pathology and symptoms.

According to the peculiarities of the pathology, the following forms of otitis are distinguished:

  1. Chronic. The form is characterized by a sluggish course, episodic exacerbations and mild symptoms during periods of remission. Chronic otitis media is diagnosed if signs of the disease are observed for more than 3 months. This form increases the risk of complications.
  2. Spicy Characterized by a pronounced manifestation of symptoms. Duration is 1-3 weeks. If untreated, otitis media becomes chronic in the future, symptoms may subside or disappear completely.
  3. Subacute. The form differs relatively mild symptoms and medium duration. Inflammation persists for 3-12 weeks depending on the characteristics of the organism.

The causes of otitis include the following forms:

  1. Infectious. These include infections with any pathogens: viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, protozoa.
  2. Non-infectious. Developed due to injury or allergies. Later, due to the creation of favorable conditions for the development of pathogens, the affected area may be secondarily infected.

According to the site of localization, otitis media is divided into external, middle and internal. The most dangerous is the latter, since the disease affects deep tissues. Increases the risk of infection of brain cells. Otitis can be combined. This happens when foci of infection spread due to lack of therapy. Additionally, there is left-sided, right-sided and bilateral otitis.

Causes of earache in children

The causes of pain in the ears can be both external stimuli and various viral or bacterial diseases.

  • getting into the ear of a foreign body,
  • traumatic injury (shock),
  • burn,
  • animal bite,
  • stung insect
  • rupture of the eardrum (often happens due to improper cleaning of the ears with a cotton swab),
  • strong wind,
  • sulfur accumulation (sulfur plug),
  • water entering the ears (often there are complaints that a child’s ear hurts after bathing).

Diseases causing pain in the ears:

  • viral, fungal and bacterial infections,
  • cold,
  • chronic respiratory diseases (tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia),
  • complications after suffering ailments of the upper respiratory tract, oral cavity (caries, tonsillitis),
  • violation of cerebral circulation,
  • low or high intracranial blood pressure,
  • inflammatory processes in the Eustachian tube,
  • otitis,
  • violation of the structure of nerve endings responsible for hearing.

Any of these conditions is dangerous to health, so it is important to know how to determine whether a child’s ears hurt to prevent complications.

Signs of pain in the ears of an infant baby

A newborn baby cannot tell his parents and doctor what exactly is bothering him. Therefore, an inexperienced mother often has a question about how to check whether a child’s ears are up to one year old.

Signs of earache in infants:

  • poor appetite
  • anxiety, crying in the process of feeding,
  • yellow fluid may be emitted from the auricle,
  • hyperthermia,
  • bad intermittent sleep
  • the baby constantly scratches, rubs his ear, tries to lie on it.

There is a sure way to check whether a child’s ears, which cannot report their problem, hurt their ears. It is necessary to press the finger lightly on the cartilage near the beginning of the ear canal. If the child's crying intensifies and he tries to remove the hand, then the matter is really in the ears.

How to understand that the ear hurts a older child

It is much easier to diagnose a baby who can speak and can complain about pain and discomfort. But in such a situation it is also important to distinguish between earache and toothache or headache.

Symptoms of earache in a child who can speak:

  • complaints of tingling or severe pain in the ears (depending on the cause),
  • sometimes the location of pain remains not fully understood, the child may indicate pain in the area of ​​the teeth,
  • pain occurs when sharp turns of the head,
  • the baby, as well as the newborn, can wake up several times at night, complain of itching in the ear, try to rub it,
  • capricious behavior.

Parents should remember that the sensation of pain in the ear is similar to a toothache, therefore, in order not to make a crumb to suffer, you should consult a doctor immediately.

Ways to alleviate the condition

If a child has one of the above symptoms, the only correct solution would be to immediately seek help from specialists. But what if the disturbing symptoms show up on a day off or late in the evening? In the most critical situations, when there is a fever, severe pain and purulent discharge, it is recommended to call an ambulance. In other cases, you can try to relieve the condition of the baby for a while.

The first actions in case of ear pain in a child:

  • give the baby an analgesic and antipyretic (at temperatures above 38-38.5 ° C),
  • to drip the nose with vasoconstrictor drops even in the absence of a rhinitis (necessary for relieving puffiness),
  • regularly give the child water
  • insert tampons moistened with boric acid or special drops (for example, "Otipaks") into the ears,
  • refer to the ENT.

If a child’s ear hurts, the anesthetic should not be used as a treatment, but as a temporary measure to relieve the condition before going to the doctor.

Forbidden manipulations

In the desire to help a child get rid of suffering, the main thing is not to harm him. Doctors give some advice that should not be done in order not to aggravate the problem.

What should not be done with pain in the ears of a child:

  • refuse to visit the doctor,
  • take painkillers immediately before going to the doctor or the arrival of an ambulance - this will not allow the doctor to see all the symptoms in full,
  • independently try to get a foreign body, if the cause of the pain is in it,
  • warm the ear, do alcohol compresses when excreting pus from the ear,
  • to ignore the prescription of antibiotics and other drugs,
  • be treated exclusively by traditional medicine.

Self-medication is not acceptable even for adult patients. In the case of a child, the abandonment of traditional methods of treatment can lead to irreparable consequences, including hearing loss.

Diagnostic methods

Most often, doctors do not have a question about how to understand whether a child’s ear hurts. In medicine, there are a number of diagnostic procedures for this.

For the diagnosis of pain in the ears is used:

  • history taking (the doctor must understand the patient’s immunity, know what he has been ill with lately),
  • examination of the auricle (in the case of a foreign body entering this manipulation is enough),
  • examination of the ear using a special otoscope device (relevant for assessing the condition of the eardrum, external ear, the auditory course),
  • temperature measurement (in infectious diseases, thermometer indicators may exceed 39 ° C),
  • blood and urine tests (to determine the inflammatory process in the body),
  • inspection of the oral cavity, nasal passages,
  • for traumatic injury, additional diagnostic methods (x-ray, computed tomography) can be used.

When the doctor confirms that the pain in the baby is caused precisely by a problem with the ear, it is necessary to strictly adhere to all prescriptions and continue treatment even if the condition is alleviated in order to avoid recurrence.

Drug treatment

If a child has any infection or a cold, a common ear disease such as otitis can develop as a complication. It is this disease that often requires medical treatment.

Means used to treat pain in the ear:

  • antibiotics (for infectious diseases, inflammation),
  • vasoconstrictor drugs in the nose ("Nazivin", "Nazol" and so on),
  • ear drops (chosen by the attending physician depending on the symptoms),
  • alcohol compress and warming procedures on the ear (in the absence of purulent discharge),
  • when cleansing the ear of sulfuric cork apply peroxide, liquid paraffin,
  • fungal infections are treated with hydrogen peroxide, Vishnevsky ointment.

It is important to remember that any drug, even the most innocuous, must be prescribed by a professional.


After consultation with the doctor, traditional treatment can be combined with the methods of traditional medicine. Independent use of folk remedies can lead to serious complications.

Nontraditional methods of treating earache in children:

  • cedar, peanut or sea buckthorn oil should be instilled one drop three times a day into the diseased ear,
  • bury your ears with honey and propolis mixed in a 1: 1 ratio (also three times a day, but two drops),
  • wash the ears with chamomile decoction.

In order for the treatment to bring the desired result, it is important not to stop it in case of disappearance of the symptoms, but to continue the procedure for several more days.

Preventive measures

All parents want to protect their child from pain and suffering. Ear pain is no exception.

To prevent the occurrence of pain in the ears of the baby and avoid complications, it is necessary:

  • know how to check if a child’s ears hurt, for a timely visit to a doctor,
  • strengthen the immunity of the child,
  • maintain breastfeeding if possible (feeding in infancy with mixtures increases the risk of otitis by more than 2 times),
  • avoid head injuries
  • time to treat the most minor colds, so that there are no complications,
  • protect your baby’s ears with a hat in windy weather,
  • thoroughly dry the ears after bathing,
  • use cotton buds to clean the ears with care (they are not recommended to clean the ear canals).

In order to consult a doctor in time and prevent dangerous consequences, parents need to understand how to know if a child’s ear hurts. In case of confirmation of concerns, it is necessary to call a pediatrician or an ambulance, and waiting for specialists, try to reassure the baby by watching cartoons and reading books.