Mild to severe ear pain is a common symptom of a middle ear infection, according to WebMD. Middle ear infections are often secondary to colds and are caused by excess fluid build-up behind the eardrum. Additional symptoms include popping or ringing in the ears, as well as a full sensation and balance problems.
The Mayo Clinic explains that ear pain when lying down is a common symptom of ear infections in children. Ear infections occur when the tubes that run from the back of the ears to the throat become blocked when colds and respiratory infections cause mucus, inflammation and swelling. Once the tubes are blocked, fluid can easily become trapped in the middle ear, which is susceptible to bacteria and viruses.
Swimmer's ear is an infection of the outer ear and ear canal that causes ear pain, itching, drainage from the ear and hearing loss, according to Medline Plus. Swimmer's ear occurs when bacteria enters the ear canal and settles into small scratches or abrasions. Polluted swimming water is often the culprit for swimmer's ear in children, but it also can occur when there is an injury to the outer ear or canal that allows for bacteria to enter and multiply. Swimmer's ear is typically treated with ear drops and antibiotics.