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Ear Infections: We Hear Your Pain!

Most of us know the dreaded signs – ear pain, trouble hearing, and drainage from the ears. How can something so small, cause so much discomfort? Ear infections are a common diagnosis, especially in younger children. Although there are many types of ear infections, the two most common are acute otitis media (middle ear infection) and otitis externa (swimmer’s ear).

Oftentimes, people use “ear infection,” and “swimmer’s ear,” interchangeably, but these discomforts have two different causes and occur in different locations within the small organ of the ear. A middle ear infection occurs behind the eardrum, while swimmer’s ear occurs in the ear canal.

Middle Ear Infection

Middle ear infections occur when a bacteria or virus gets behind the eardrum and cause an infection. The infection is oftentimes related to another illness such as a cold, the flu, or allergies.

Ear infections are common in young children who may not be able to clearly articulate what and how they’re feeling. Watch for an unexplained fever, general fussiness, trouble sleeping, tugging at their ears, and difficulty hearing quiet sounds.


  • Ear pain
  • Trouble hearing
  • Discharge of fluid from ear
  • Fever

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is most often caused when water remains in your ear after swimming – creating a warm, wet environment for bacteria to grow and flourish.

With all the lakes, rivers, ponds and coastal waters that New Englanders can take advantage of, it’s no doubt that someone you know, possibly even yourself, has experienced that dreaded itch inside our ear after enjoying a day in the water.


  • Be proactive – Wear earplugs! Prevent water from getting inside your ears in the first place.
  • Drain your ears – Shake it, shake it! After getting out of the water, turn your head from side to side.


  • Ear pain
  • Trouble hearing
  • Discharge of fluid from the ear
  • Scaly skin in and around the ear canal
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Discomfort when moving the jaw

When to Consult a Doctor

If you experience any of the symptoms associated with an ear infection or swimmer’s ear, you should seek care at your nearest ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care center. If left untreated, chronic ear infections can lead to

  • Permanent hearing loss
  • Ear bone damage
  • Ear cyst
  • Inflammation near the brain

ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care is “hear” for you! Our urgent care locations are open 7 days a week, with no appointment necessary – just walk in! From earaches to headaches and backaches, we can help get you feeling better, faster!