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Things to know about fever and earache

Symptoms, causes, and remedies

Can an earache cause a fever?

Have you ever noticed how fever and ear pain sometimes go hand in hand? In some cases, the fever triggers the ear pain and, in others, it's the ear pain causing the fever. The pain can vary from mild to pretty intense. If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's crucial to undergo a thorough medical evaluation guided by a physician. This ensures the right approach to address both the pain and its source.

What causes ear pain with fever?

The causes of fever and ear pain can vary based on underlying conditions, including ear infections, respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, allergies, or dental problems. It's crucial to identify the specific trigger early to prevent prolonged pain.

Although these issues are often minor, consulting with your healthcare provider is essential to determine the right treatment and course of action for effective resolution.

Ear infection

Ear pain is often caused by infections, especially those affecting the middle ear. These infections, commonly known as otitis media, can be quite painful and may result in hearing difficulties. Symptoms can include high fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Typically triggered by viruses or bacteria, middle ear infections can block the ear tubes with mucus or fluid. Young children, in particular, are prone to these infections. If you notice a toddler tugging or touching their ears, it could be a sign of an ongoing infection. Seeking advice from a pediatrician can provide clarity and guidance in such situations.

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs)

Respiratory tract infections include diseases affecting the nose, throat, and ears, and they're quite common, especially in children. Colds, for instance, often affect the ears, which is normal. In more severe cases, the connection between the nose and ears through the Eustachian tube can lead to blockages, collecting viruses or bacteria and potentially causing more serious problems like otitis.

These respiratory infections, from mild colds to severe otitis, may come with varying degrees of fever. It's crucial to consult with a pediatrician or general practitioner to identify the right and effective treatment.


Sinusitis can contribute to hearing problems, often manifesting as a sensation of plugged ears, which, if untreated, may progress to eardrum membrane perforation.

This easily treatable disorder arises from the close proximity of the affected organs. Sinus congestion can induce ear pain, leading to a pronounced sense of discomfort in both ears, potentially accompanied by fever and general malaise.

Simple self-care practices, such as using a saline spray or maintaining hydration, can effectively alleviate congestion and reduce pain.


Allergies often trigger inflammation, causing irritated mucous membranes, burning and redness in the eyes, reduced hearing, and itching and swelling in the ears. The ear may also have fluid or pus discharge, and balance issues can occur.

Any hearing problems are usually temporary and result from a buildup of mucus, fluids, and earwax in the ear canal. It's more accurate to describe it as a sensation of muffling or reduced hearing rather than strict hearing loss. Sometimes, these sensations may be accompanied by a mild fever, with a slight increase in body temperature, rarely exceeding 38°C.

Cerumen in the ears

Earwax, known as cerumen, naturally exists in the ears to control infections. However, when there's an excess due to changes in the ear's normal condition, it can lead to the formation of earplugs.

This may cause symptoms like earache, a sensation of muffled ears, difficulty in hearing, and, in severe cases, even a high fever. A doctor or an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist can easily remove the earplug.

Oral disorders

Oral disorders, like pharyngitis, bruxism, or actual tooth diseases, can also bring about ear discomfort. Chewing, for instance, due to the close proximity of these organs, puts strain on the auditory system. Earaches and tinnitus often occur when teeth and the mouth undergo specific stress, like during a wisdom tooth extraction.

Inflammations, in particular, may lead to fever, requiring guidance from a dentist or medical advisor for proper treatment.

Eustachian tube inflammation

Inflammation of the Eustachian tube can result from various causes such as colds, pharyngitis, flu, or allergies. These conditions contribute to the buildup of secretions in the ear, fostering the growth of bacteria that can disrupt the normal functioning of the Eustachian tube. This leads to the accumulation of mucus and the onset of ear pain.

Addressing the specific cause with tailored treatment can help ease the inflammation and, subsequently, alleviate the pain. However, it is crucial to consult with your doctor to determine the most effective treatment.

What are the symptoms of earache along with fever?

Earaches accompanied by fever manifest beyond just ear pain and overall discomfort. You might also experience hearing loss or muffled ears, itching at the affected site, along with cold chills, nausea, and, in some cases, even diarrhea. It's important to quickly identify the cause and consult a doctor for proper assessment and treatment.

What medical treatments ease earaches with fever?

Medical treatments for earaches with fever depend on the cause. This can range from self-medicating with local anesthetics for ear pain, using decongestant drops for the ear canal, to taking oral anti-inflammatories. Antibiotic therapy is necessary only when prescribed by a doctor.

It's important to always follow the advice of the treating physician, who can guide you on the most effective treatment for you.

How to treat earache with fever at home?

Here are some simple home remedies to ease earache with fever while waiting for a doctor's appointment:

  • Apply a hot or cold compress near the ear.
  • Change your resting position to avoid constant pressure on the affected ear.
  • Use homeopathic drops.
  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatories, following the recommended doses on the leaflet.
  • Drink warm beverages and get ample rest to alleviate fever.

How to treat earache with fever in children?

In children, fever and earaches are a very common combination. The causes can be inflammation in the middle ear (otitis) or the outer ear, which may happen due to water exposure, like frequent beach or pool baths, dental issues, or growth spurts.

These concerns tend to recur and can be challenging for young children. It's advisable to consult a pediatrician for the most suitable treatment to ease the pain, which can vary in difficulty for young children. In cases of recurrence, it is best to make an appointment with both the pediatrician and an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist.

When should you consult a doctor?

It's wise to seek medical advice when experiencing ear pain with a fever, especially if it's high, to identify the root cause and intervene appropriately. However, if self-medication for a couple of days doesn't bring relief to ear pain and fever, it's recommended to consult a hearing professional to clarify the best approach and treatment.

How to prevent earache with fever?

Earaches with fever can't be entirely prevented, but some good habits can help reduce their frequency. For example, avoid letting water linger in the ear after a shower, bath, or swim, and steer clear of using cotton buds, which don't help with earwax removal.

In general, following a healthy and active lifestyle, including a good diet and regular exercise to boost the immune system, can help handle minor conditions more effectively.

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