According to the Mayo Clinic, general symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, diminished hearing and drainage of fluid from the ear. Additional symptoms in children are ear pain when lying down, tugging or pulling at the ear, difficulty sleeping, loss of balance and a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of an ear infection can result from multiple underlying causes. It is important to call one's doctor if the pain in the ear lasts for more than a day, if the ear pain is severe or if one observes pus or a bloody discharge from the ear. An adult experiencing the above symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. Most ear infections do not cause long-term complications; however, frequent infections can result in impaired hearing, tearing of the eardrum and even developmental delays in speech in children. Most ear infections clear up without the use of antibiotics, according to the Mayo Clinic. Placing a warm compress on the ear may help alleviate some of the pain, as does taking pain medication, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. In some cases, ear drops may be prescribed to provide additional pain relief. Finally, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, especially if a child experiencing these symptoms has a fever of 102.2 F for 48 hours.