Ear discomfort can occur in one or both ears and can be caused by a build up of wax or an ear infection. If you have persistent ear pain, feel like your ear is blocked, have an ear discharge, reduced hearing or ringing in your ears, it is important to see a doctor who can examine you. It is not safe to use cotton buds to clean out your ear canals as you cannot see what you are doing, and may make the problem worse.
Ear wax is normal. We all produce wax in our ears but in some people the wax production is so much that it can block the ear canal and cause pain and deafness. If you are diagnosed with a build up of ear wax your doctor will recommend olive oil or sodium bicarbonate ear drops to soften the wax before it can be syringed out with warm water or sucked out by a specialist with a 'microsuction' device.
If you are diagnosed with an infection in your ear canal (otitis externa), you will be prescribed antibiotics in the form of drops or sprays to treat the infection. Some of these drops also contain steroid to reduce inflammation and pain of your ear canal.
If you are diagnosed with a middle ear infection (otitis media), this means that the infection is behind your ear drum. Antibiotic drops may help if your ear drum if perforated. If not then you may need oral antibiotics.