Earaches and ear infections are common issues affecting children and adults alike, and can and should be treated by your primary care physician or Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT). Types of ear infection include acute otitis media and otitis externa (also known as “Swimmer’s Ear”), both of which can be very painful and are typically treated with antibiotics. Common symptoms of an ear infection may include pain, dizziness or balancing problems, fever, fluid draining from the ear, hearing problems, headache, itching inside the ear, redness and inflammation of the eardrum and sleep disturbance. Ear infections are commonly caused by viruses, bacteria, fluid build-up, abnormalities in the structure of the middle ear, sticking objects in the ear, and swimming in polluted water. When you are examined for an ear infection, the doctor will use a special instrument called a pneumatic otoscope to see inside your ear. This instrument administers a gentle puff of air against the eardrum, allowing the physician to determine the amount of fluid that may be there.