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Symptoms » Earache » Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic Tests for Earache

Diagnostic Test list for Earache:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Earache includes:

  • General observation
    • Observe the person's general state and behavior e.g. sudden, jabbing pain may indicate trigeminal neuralgia or glossopharyngeal neuralgia
  • Physical examination
    • Manipulate the pinna to establish if this aggravates the pain - would suggest otitis externa, foreign body, impacted wax, furunculosis, ear lobe infection or perichondritis.
    • Examine the skin of the pinna for pathology such as skin tumor
    • Examine for enlargement of the local lymph nodes
    • Examine the nature of the ear discharge - if present.
    • Examine both ear canals and ear drums with otoscope looking for abnormalities such as infection, boil in outer ear canal, inflammation and bulging of the ear drum, cholesteatoma, impacted wax or foreign body
    • Inspect for a blister-like rash of the pinna, ear drum or canal which may suggest herpes zoster infection
    • Clear or blood-filled blisters on the ear drum and canal skin suggests myringitis bullosa
    • Examine for swelling and tenderness behind the ear with downward displacement of the pinna of the ear which suggests mastoiditis
    • Look for red, swollen and exquisitely tender pinna of the ear which characterizes perichondritis (infection of the cartilage of the ear) which may follow trauma or surgery to the ear
    • Look for causes of possible referred ear pain - e.g. temporomandibular joint dysfunction will have pain and limitation of jaw movement and tenderness of the jaw joint; cancer of the tongue, palate or tonsils may cause referred ear pain; dental disorders; cervical spine; tonsils; pharynx.
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count, ESR and biochemistry, may be considered if fever is present
    • Rheumatoid factor - if temporomandibular joint dysfunction is diagnosed.
    • Swab of discharge - if present for microscopy, culture and sensitivity - to determine bacterial causes such as Staphylococcus aureus or pseudomonas pyocynaea.
    • Throat swab for microscopy and culture, may be considered - if throat symptoms.
  • Radiological investigations
    • X-Ray of mastoids and petrous temporal bones - if suspect a deep source of infection and discharge.
    • CT scan of mastoids and petrous temporal bones, may be required
    • Tympanogram is useful for diagnosing chronic serous otitis media
  • Audiogram (hearing test) - if hearing loss especially in children as hearing loss as a complication of ear infections may affect language and cognitive development of young children.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Earache causes:

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Earache:

The following list of conditions have 'Earache' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Earache or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Earache:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Earache' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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