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MLA Full: "Why Does My Ear Hurt?" YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 2 January 2018,
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Squeaks is feeling a little under the weather! As if a sore throat and a stuffy head weren't bad enough, he also has an earache. Join him to learn why we get earaches and what we can do to help our bodies get over them faster!
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[Squeaks sneezes] Oh no, Squeaks!

I hope you’re not getting sick! I know we all try and take good care of ourselves during cold and flu season, but sometimes it happens—we just get sick. [Squeaks squeaks sadly] And sometimes our stuffy heads and runny noses come with something else, too.

An earache. If you’ve ever had an earache, you know just how much that can make your ears hurt! There are a few different things that can cause earaches.

So it’s not surprising that they’re pretty common! Most kids have had at least one by their second birthday, which means you’ve probably had one too, even if you don’t remember it. A lot of earaches are caused by the same kinds of germs that can make you sick in other ways — the ones that give you that stuffy nose or sore throat.

When these germs make one or both of your ears hurt, that’s what’s called an ear infection. When your ear gets invaded by germs during an ear infection, special parts of your body go to work. A whole army of tiny little things called white blood cells surround and try to kill the germs that are causing the infection.

That might sound like it should be pretty painful, but it’s not. White blood cells kill tons of germs in our bodies every day, and we never notice it. Our ears hurt during an ear infection for another reason.

If we could look deep inside of our ears, we’d see that they look kind of like a tube that ends in a whole bunch of different parts. You can divide the ear into three main parts—the outer, the middle, and the inner. It’s usually the middle part of the ear that gets an ear infection.

The part of the ear that separates that outer tube from the middle of the ear is called the eardrum. It’s the part of your ear that picks up on the sounds in the air to help you hear. Normally, the space right behind the eardrum is full of air.

An ear infection starts when some germs get into that space, and your body sends white blood cells to fight the germs. It’s quite a battle! Because of the white blood cells fighting the germs, a bunch of liquid, dead white blood cells, and dead germs all starts to build up behind the eardrum.

All of this stuff pushes on the eardrum, and can make your ear feel weird. Most people say that it kind of feels like their ear is full. And sometimes the stuff in there pushes on the eardrum enough that it stretches it. [Squeaks squeaks] Yeah, Squeaks!

It’s almost like how a balloon stretches when you fill it up with air. But your eardrum isn’t meant to stretch like a balloon. So this stretching hurts!

And that’s why an earache is painful. If you do get an ear infection, it’s best to go see the doctor. They’ll probably use a tool called an otoscope to look inside of your ear.

It’s actually a very simple tool. It has a bright light on it, and a part that magnifies the inside of your ear, making it look bigger so it’s easier for the doctor to see. The doctor will put the smaller end inside your ear and look at your eardrum to see how bad the ear infection is.

The eardrum might look red and kind of puffy or swollen, because it’s stretched by the stuff that’s inside the ear. Then, once the doctor has a good look inside of your ear, they can decide how to help your ear infection get better. Sometimes they might give you medicine to kill the germs faster, or they might say that you should just rest.

Either way, you should feel better soon! And if you’ve ever had an ear infection... I’m sure you know how good that sounds!

Thanks for joining us! If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!