​Often the reason for earache is mucus in your middle ear after blowing your nose, and air pressure, which makes your eardrum bulge. Earache may be caused by an acute ear infection or some other irritant. Usually, the ache can be relieved by over-the-counter painkillers.

An infection in the external auditory canal is a more common cause of earache with adults than the middle ear infection. In addition to pain, the infection also causes cloudy discharge and swelling of the ear canal and you may have difficulty hearing. Ear pain can also be caused by other than actual ear problems and originate from the jaw joint, teeth or mouth, parotid gland, ninth cranial nerve, pharynx or neck. Even wind, cold weather or pressure variations can cause ear pain.


​You can take over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to reduce earache. Pharmacy staff will help you select the right product, if necessary. You should never insert a cotton bud or any other object into the ear canal. This may only increase the pain and possibly infection, too. ​

When should you seek medical advice?

​You should seek medical advice, if​

  • the pain is severe and / or started rapidly.
  • there is discharge or bleeding from the ear.
  • you feel dizzy.
  • you have a temperature.
  • painkillers do not relieve the pain in a couple of days.

More information

The producers of the instruction

​​​​​Emergency care professionals have produced the instruction in collaboration with Terveyskirjasto.​


Updated  22.4.2021