4 common ear issues and how to treat them

Published 01 June 2022  | Updated 27 February 2024  | 3 mins read

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Many of the most common ear issues are often easy to treat – there’s no need to suffer in silence.

Here we’ve created a guide to four of the most common ear issues and their treatments to get an idea of what to do if you’re facing challenges with your ear health.


Symptoms: pain in your ears, throbbing

Treatment: earache can often be solved with simple paracetamol or ibuprofen and should clear up within three days. Putting a cold or warm flannel on your ear can also be soothing.

See a GP if: your earache lasts longer than three days, you are getting recurring earaches – this could be the sign of a more complicated issue.


Symptoms: inexplicable ringing, buzzing, humming or hissing noises, throbbing ears or headaches, sensitivity to sounds, difficulty hearing

Treatment: there’s not exactly a ‘cure’ for tinnitus, but there are lots of therapies that can help you manage it much better, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and tinnitus retraining therapy. Your GP will be able to help you choose the best way forward.

See a GP if it’s affecting your sleep or concentration or is making you anxious or depressed; if your tinnitus ‘beats’ in time with your pulse, or if your tinnitus seems to be getting worse or is becoming more constant.

Ear Infections

Symptoms: ear pain, high temperature, nausea, discharge from the ear, difficulty hearing, itchiness around and in the ear, low energy

Treatment: use painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, remove discharge from the outer ear by wiping with cotton wool, do not put anything inside your ear such as cotton buds, and be careful with water and shampoo in the shower.

See a GP if: your temperature is very high, there is no improvement after three days, swollen ear, or any other severe symptoms – you might need antibiotics to help clear the infection up.

Perforated Eardrum

Symptoms: sudden hearing loss, earache or ear pain, itchiness, high temperature, tinnitus

Treatment: a perforated eardrum is a small hole that should usually heal within a few weeks. In the meantime, take painkillers, don’t put anything in your ears, be careful with water when bathing and avoid swimming, don’t blow your nose too hard, and use a cold or warm flannel to soothe any pain.

It’s always good to see a GP if you think you have a perforated eardrum, as it can make your ears more prone to infection, which might need antibiotics.

They will also then check the size of the hole in your eardrum. You might be referred to a specialist for surgery to repair the hole.

When to visit a specialist

Of course, here at The Hearing Care Partnership, we are always happy to help with any hearing or ear-related issue.

Our full hearing assessment can determine a wide range of problems and the best way to solve them – whether that’s a new pair of hearing aids or safe ear wax removal.

Book an appointment today – call our Dedicated Patient Support Team on 0800 52 00 546 or book online.

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