Health libraryBack to health library
Do you need a doctor? Ear pain and infection
An ear infection requires a doctor's attention.
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, signs of an ear infection may include:
- Pain. This is usually the first symptom of an infection.
- Drainage. Watch for yellow or white fluid draining from the ear. It will look different from normal earwax and may have a bad odor.
- Fever. However, not all ear infections cause fever.
- Trouble hearing. Fluid in the ear can cause temporary hearing trouble.
Ear infections should be treated by a doctor to prevent more serious problems, such as permanent hearing loss or even meningitis, which is an infection of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord.