Deafness/Hearing Impairment/Ear Infection


Dr. Linton,

I have a question related to severe ear infections. Three days ago my wife had an ear ache, I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary because she also said she had an upset stomach, headache, etc.

When we woke up the next morning the ear pain was much worse. When I got home from work I took her to the local emergency room (as it was a Sunday) and saw a Doctor about it. The Doctor looked in her ear and informed us her ear drum was broken? When I asked what could cause that so fast she responded that it was most likely due to a rapidly progressing infection.

My wife was prescribed Penicillin, some ear drops, and Advil for the pain and inflammation. The advil did nothing for the pain, so, in consultation with our pharmacist he recommended Tylenol with codeine. This helps make her tired but again does nothing for the pain.

It's been a couple days since and the pain is still there, she is taking her medication every 8 hours, as prescribed for the next 10 days. She also says her other ear is starting to hurt? Could this just be a mental thing or could an infection actually make its way to the other ear while on the medication?

Should I take her back to the hospital? Or should I just keep giving her the medication and give it more time for the pain to subside.

Also is there anything you can recommend that is not a prescription medication that might actually help with the pain in the meantime?

Thank you,


My apologies...I've been out of the country and you probably already have your problem solved.

The rapid onset of middle ear fluid will cause the eardrum to burst...and that sounds like what happened with your wife's ear.  It is VERY painful.  It is possible the infection/fluid is developing in the other ear.  The same thing can happen if the fluid develops quicker than the body can absorb it.  So she can potentially have two "broken" eardrums.

The good news is, the body will repair itself and usually does fairly quickly.  The ears may be painful but the eardrum will grow back and repair the hole in a matter of a few weeks, as long as the infection stays away.  

Most definitely keep her doctor informed and let him know of any ongoing pain that seems abnormally severe.  

Thank you for your question.  Kelley Linton,  Au.D.

Deafness/Hearing Impairment

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Dr. Kelley Linton


I'm an audiologist in private practice in Arkansas. I graduated from the University of Florida medical school. I specialize in hearing loss; hearing rehabilitation; hearing aids; noise induced hearing loss; occupational noise exposure; OSHA guidelines and regulations; hearing protection; tinnitis; newborn hearing testing; children and hearing loss and diagnosis and etiology of hearing loss.


I've been a practicing audiologist for 20 years and have owned a private practice for 14 years. I am also an audiologist in the United States Army where I teach DOD hearing conservation regulations and manage 3000 DOD employees at an army industrial facility.

Arkansas Academy of Audiology American Academy of Audiology Academy of Doctors of Audiology American Speech and Hearing Association National Hearing Conservation Association

Journal of the Academy of Audiology Southwest Times Record, Fort Smith, Arkansas Press Argus Courier, Van Buren, Arkansas

Au.D. - Doctor of Audiology, University of Florida American Academy of Audiology fellow member Audiology Board Certification American Speech and Hearing Association certification Arkansas State Audiology license-current CPT United States Army Medical Corps

Awards and Honors
American Speech and Hearing Association "ACE" award x 7 years United States Army Accommodation Award Arkansas Academy of Audiology elected board of director x 3 years Better community award, Fort Smith, AR for volunteer audiology service to free community health clinic

Past/Present Clients
Serving newborn to geriatric ages.....unable to provide specific names.

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