Ear Pain Causes & Solutions
The ear shares nerves with other nearby structures including the face, eyes, jaw, teeth, and upper neck. Pain that feels as if it is in the ear may actually originate in another structure in the head or neck. This is called referred ear pain and is more common in older adults.
Other causes of ear pain include:
- Diseases of the joints and muscles of the jaw (temporomandibular dysfunction or TM disorders).
- Neck or cervical spine problems.
- Dental problems, such as impacted third molars (wisdom teeth) or dental infections in the upper back teeth.
- Other ear, nose, and throat infections. Examples are:
- Infection of the throat/pharyngitis.
- Infection of the voice box/laryngitis.
- Salivary gland infection.
- Inflammation of the blood vessels in the temple (giant cell arteritis).
- Nerve problems such as trigeminal neuralgia, which affects the nerves of the face.
- Cancer of the head or neck.
Ear Infection Medical Treatment
Symptoms of a middle ear infection often start 2 to 7 days after the start of a cold or other upper respiratory infection.
Symptoms of an ear infection may include:
- Ear pain (mild to severe). Babies often pull or tug at their ears when they have an earache.
- Drainage from the ear that is thick and yellow or bloody. If this occurs, the eardrum has probably burst (ruptured). The hole in the eardrum often heals by itself in a few weeks.
- Loss of appetite, vomiting, and grumpy behavior.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Trouble hearing.
Symptoms of fluid buildup may include:
- Popping, ringing, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. Children often have trouble describing this feeling. Children may rub their ears trying to relieve pressure.
- Trouble hearing. Children who have problems hearing may seem dreamy or inattentive, or they may appear grumpy or cranky.
- Balance problems and dizziness.
Some children don’t have any symptoms with this condition.
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