The painful symptoms of ear infections occur as a result of fluid and mucus accumulation in the ear canal. Bacterial or viral infections, especially of the upper respiratory tract, can cause this excess fluid accumulation in the ear. Or, in the case of “Swimmer’s ear,” water becomes trapped in the ear canal by ear wax and bacteria colonize. In both cases, the excess of fluid in the ear causes increased pressure and thus, pain. Inflammation and irritation of the ear canal occur as well. The pain may be accompanied by a discharge from the ear, hearing loss, fever and even nausea or vomiting.