Common symptoms of an earache in adults include dull continuous pain, sudden pains or a sharp feeling in the ear, explains WebMD. Earaches that lead to infection produce symptoms such as a feeling of fullness in the ear, nausea, ear drainage and muffled hearing.
A fever or body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit accompanied by an earache can indicate a serious infection, according to WebMD. Individuals who experience hearing problems or loss or earaches that do not subside within a few days should consult with a physician.
Earaches in adults can be caused by fluid buildup inside the eardrum, an infected hair follicle or boil in the ear canal, or injury to the ear canal from sharp objects or cotton swabs, explains WebMD. Earaches and ear infections are also caused by blockages from plugs or earwax, jaw pain, throat infections, or dental abscess from tooth pain. Facial nerve pain can also prompt earaches.
Treatment for earaches commonly includes over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, according to WebMD. Earache pain can be reduced by applying a cold compress or wash cloth to the affected ear. Physicians may also prescribe ear drops or antibiotics when signs of an infection exist.