Earache is most commonly described as a feeling of pressure in the ear. This feeling may begin gradually or suddenly, and it can be very severe. Other symptoms such as hearing loss, fever and feeling unwell usually indicate an ear infection.
When the ear canal is inflamed or if the eardrum ruptures, there may be drainage from the ear. If the eardrum ruptures because of a middle ear infection, the pain is often relieved because the pressure is reduced. In young children, the only signs of an ear infection may be fever, irritability and pulling at the ear.