Ear Pain Causes & Treatment

Ear Pain – What is it?

Ear pain and earache is common, particularly in young children. It can be painful, but is not usually a sign of anything serious.


 Earache can be a sharp, dull or burning ear pain that comes and goes or is constant. One or both ears may be affected. How long earache lasts depends on what’s causing it. 

Spotting earache in babies and young children

A young child might have earache if they:

  • rub or pull their ear
  • do not react to some sounds
  • have a temperature of 38°C or above
  • are irritable or restless
  • are off their food
  • keep losing their balance

Earache and ear pain can affect one or both ears.


Your pharmacist may be able to recommend over-the-counter eardrops for your earache, but let them know your symptoms and ask for their advice first.

 A pharmacist might be able to tell you:

  • what you can do to treat earache yourself
  • if you can buy anything to help (for example, eardrops such as Cl-ear Ear Relief Ear Drops
  • if you need to see a GP

See a GP if you or your child:

  • have earache for more than 3 days
  • keep getting earache
  • have swelling around the ear
  • have fluid coming from the ear
  • have hearing loss or a change in hearing
  • have something stuck in the ear
  • your child is under 2 and has earache in both ears


The advice on this page is not exhaustive and should not be used to self-diagnose, but it may give you an idea as to what might be causing your ear condition. Always ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.