Earache with fever: things to know

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Can you get a fever from an earache?

Fever and ear pain are frequently intertwined. In some instances, fever can lead to ear pain, while in others, it's the ear pain itself that triggers the fever. The pain typically ranges from mild to moderate, but it can escalate to severe levels. A proper medical evaluation, guided by a physician, is essential to address the pain promptly.

Most common causes of earache with fever

The most common causes of fever and ear pain depend on the disease that causes them: whether they are ear infections, respiratory tract infections, sinusitis or allergies or caused by dental problems, it is important to identify the real trigger and intervene early to prevent the pain from lasting too long.

In the majority of cases, these are minor issues and not a cause for undue concern. However, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate treatment and course of action to be taken.

Ear infection

Ear infections, particularly those affecting the middle ear are a common source of ear pain. These infections can be quite painful, leading to difficulties in hearing and sometimes accompanied by high fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Middle ear infections, often referred to as otitis media are typically triggered by viruses or bacteria. The infection can block the ear tubes with mucus or fluid.

These infections are frequently seen in young children and if a toddler is tugging or touching their ears, it could be a sign of an ongoing infection. Consulting a pediatrician can help clarify the situation.

Respiratory infections

Respiratory tract infections include all the diseases that affect the nose, throat and ears. They are very common, especially among children. Respiratory infections, such as colds, often impact the ears, and this is quite normal, particularly in more severe cases, as the nose and ears are interconnected via the Eustachian tube. This canal in the middle ear can become blocked and fill with viruses or bacteria, leading to more severe issues like otitis.

Respiratory infections, ranging from common colds to more severe otitis, can sometimes be accompanied by varying degrees of fever. A pediatrician or general practitioner can assist in identifying the appropriate and effective treatment.


Sinusitis can also cause hearing problems. It often presents itself as a muffling of the ears, i.e. a feeling of plugged ears, which, if left untreated, can lead to perforation of the eardrum membrane. 

It is a very annoying but easily treatable disorder caused by the proximity of the affected organs. In fact, congestion of the sinuses can cause pain in the ears, which in turn causes a strong sense of discomfort in both ears, sometimes also accompanied by fever and general malaise.

Some good self-medication practices include using a saline spray or staying hydrated in order to relieve congestion and, consequently, pain.


Allergies trigger an inflammatory response that results in irritated mucous membranes, burning and redness in the eyes, reduced hearing, as well as itching and swelling in the ears. There may be fluid or pus discharge from the ear canal and problems with balance.

Typically, any hearing impairment is temporary and arises from an excessive buildup of mucus, fluids, and earwax in the ear canal. It's more accurate to describe it as a sense of muffling or reduced hearing rather than a strict hearing loss. In some cases, these sensations may be accompanied by a mild fever, with a slight increase in body temperature. Only rarely does the temperature exceed 38°C.

Earwax formation

The presence of cerumen in the ears is a physiological situation with a specific function: local infection control. However, in the event of an overproduction of earwax, which can result from an alteration in the normal condition of the ear, earplugs can form.

This may lead to symptoms such as earache, a sensation of muffling in the ears, difficulty in hearing, and, in severe cases, even a high fever. With the help of a doctor or an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist, the plug can be easily removed.

Dental problems

Oral disorders, from pharyngitis to bruxism to actual tooth disease, can also cause discomfort involving the ear.

In fact, we also stress the auditory system during mastication, again due to the proximity of organs. In particular, earaches and tinnitus are common when the teeth and the mouth are subjected to a particular distress, such as a wisdom tooth extraction. 

Inflammations, above all, can also cause fever, which must be treated with specific guidance from the dentist or a medical advisor.

Inflammation of the Eustachian tube

Inflammation of the Eustachian tube has different causes: colds, pharyngitis, flu or allergies. All of these disorders promote the accumulation of secretions in the ear that cause the proliferation of bacteria that often affect the normal functioning of the Eustachian tube, filling it with mucus and causing ear pain.

A specific treatment according to the triggering factor can alleviate the inflammation and consequently the pain. However, it is important to consult your doctor to find the best solution.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia

Find out more about the relationship between ear, nose and throat.

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Symptoms of earache with fever

The symptoms of earaches with fever are not limited to earaches and general malaise.

Deafness or muffling of the ears, itching of the injured site, but also cold chills, nausea and in some cases even diarrhoea may occur. It is essential to discover the triggering cause in order to intervene promptly by consulting a doctor.

Medical treatments

Medical treatments to alleviate earaches with fever depend on the underlying cause: they can vary from taking self-medication drugs, with the help of local anaesthetics to relieve ear pain or drops that decongest the ear canal, or with oral anti-inflammatories. 

In other cases, antibiotic therapy is necessary only when prescribed by a doctor.

In general, the approach to be used is always to follow the indications of the treating physician, who will be able to indicate the proper approach to follow.

Home remedy for earache with fever

Some home remedies for earache with fever can be useful to buffer the pain while waiting for a doctor's consultation:

  • Applying a hot or cold compress near the ear.
  • Changing posture while resting to avoid weight always being placed on the same ear.
  • Applying homeopathic drops.
  • Using OTC (over-the-counter) anti-inflammatories, without exceeding the doses recommended on the leaflet.
  • Drinking warm drinks and resting to relieve fever.

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Earache with fever in children

Fever and earache in children are a very common combination. It can affect both ears or only one and can be caused by inflammation of the middle ear (otitis) but also of the outer ear. The latter is usually caused by exposure to water, such as frequent baths at the beach or in the swimming pool, problems with the teeth, or simply by their growth.

These complaints are often recurrent and can be challenging for young children. Therefore, it is always a good idea to consult the pediatrician to find the most appropriate treatment to alleviate the pain, which can be more or less difficult for young children. Especially in cases of recurrence, in addition to the pediatrician, it is always useful to consult the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist.

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When should you see a doctor?

It is always a good choice to consult a doctor in the case of ear pain accompanied by fever, especially if it is high, in order to identify the triggering cause and intervene in the most appropriate way.

However, if after a couple of days of self-medication the ear pain and fever do not subside, it is best to consult a hearing professional to clarify the approach and treatment to follow.

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Preventing earache with fever

Earaches with fever cannot be prevented entirely, but some good practices can help reduce its occurrence. For example, avoid water pooling in the ear after a shower, bath or swim, as well as avoid using cotton buds that do not help at all in removing earwax.

Overall, all good practices for a healthy and active life, i.e. healthy diet and exercise to boost the immune system, can help you deal with minor ailments in the best possible way.

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