Otalgia is a common symptom seen in general practice, emergency departments and otolaryngology clinics. Joel Hardman explores how to assess and manage presentations of a sore ear, mainly acute otitis media and otitis externa.
Summary Writer: Rose McCarthy
Script Writer: Joel Hardman
Editor: Joel Hardman
Interviewee: Joel Hardman
Dr Joel Hardman graduated medicine from the University of Sydney in 2010. He completed his internship and residency at Westmead Hospital, NSW. Joel has completed two years as a Senior Resident Medical Officer/Unaccredited General Surgery and two years in Ear Nose and Throat Surgery. Joel completed his Masters in microRNAs in papillary thyroid cancer at the University of Sydney in 2016 and is currently the Ear Nose and Throat Senior Resident Medical Officer at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
With Dr Joel Hardman, Ear Nose and Throat SRMO, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Otalgia is a common symptom seen in general practice, emergency departments and otolaryngology clinics. Approximately 4% of general practitioner (GP) encounters are solely for ears.
When assessing a sore ear it is important to determine the exact location of the pain – is it stemming from the external ear, ear canal or middle ear? Additionally, a sore ear can represent a manifestation of a systemic process. A pathology of another structure in the head and neck can result in secondary otalgia.
This podcast discusses how best to assess and manage presentations of acute otitis media vs otitis externa. Otitis media is an infection or inflammation of the middle ear. It is defined as an acute onset of otalgia with a bulging or erythematous tympanic membrane. Otitis externa is an infection of the external ear canal. It is defined as otalgia with an erythematous inflamed external ear canal.
You are a doctor in the Emergency Department. A 50-year-old female presents with a two-day history of worsening right ear pain.
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