Common Causes For Ear Pain And When To See An ENT

Common Causes For Ear Pain

Typical Causes Of Ear Pain

Pain in your ears is never an easy thing to have to deal with. Earaches can be sharp, dull, or burning and can be caused for many reasons. Anne Arundel ENT can help treat the pain and the root problem.

Common causes for earaches are

  • Infection: watery or pus-like fluid in our coming out of the ear.

  • Wax buildup: which causes itching, pain, discharge, or infection. 

  • Air pressure: cause pain when it happens on an airplane or in an elevator and is usually temporary. 

  • Swimmer’s ear: when water becomes trapped in the outer ear, which can lead to infection.

  • Glue ear: build-up of fluid deep inside the ear, which commonly causes some temporary hearing loss. The condition tends to be painless.

  • Damage to the ear: injury to the inside of the ear. For example, scraping earwax from the ear canal using a cotton bud, or poking a cotton bud too far into your ear, can puncture the eardrum.

  • Object in the ear: If an object is in your ear, don’t attempt to remove it yourself. You risk the possibility of pushing it further inside and damaging the eardrum.

  • Throat infection: If you find it painful to swallow and you have a sore throat, your earache could be a symptom of a throat infection, such as tonsillitis or quinsy.

  • Jaw Problems: Problems with the joint in the mandible (where the jaw meets the skull) or temporomandibular joint pain. Caused by problems such as arthritis or teeth grinding.

  • Dental abscess: a pool of pus that forms in a tooth or gum, resulting because of a bacterial infection. The main symptom is a pain in the affected tooth, which may throb violently, but sometimes the pain spreads to your ear.

Three Types Of Ear Infections

There are three main types of ear infections: acute otitis media (AOM), otitis media with effusion (OME), and otitis externa. Ear pain is usually only caused by a mild infection and gets better within a few days. Symptoms of these ear infections include earaches, fever, hearing loss, headaches, drainage from the ear, pain in the ear, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

Outer ear infections are easier to diagnose because they can be seen by the naked eye. You may develop an itchy rash that causes swelling, tenderness, and pain. Middle ear infections can be caused by fluid trapping behind the eardrum, which causes the eardrum to swell, causing ear pain. It’s called otitis media and is the most common cause of ear pain. Another cause of ear pain is inflammation of the inner ear. Other symptoms of this inflammation include vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and ear pain. Ear infections can be diagnosed by looking into the ears with an otoscope. An otoscope allows us to see inside the ear canal and eardrum.

When To See An ENT For Ear Pain

While most ear infections go away on their own, some need to be treated with antibiotics or with other treatments. Many causes of ear pain can be relieved by over-the-counter medications, this does not treat infection or inflammation. To help prevent them, it is crucial to know what causes recurring ear infections. If you develop a high fever, drowsiness, a stiff neck, or vomiting, please seek emergency help. Got ear plain or think you may have an ear infection? Let us help! Contact Anne Arundel Ent at (410) 573-9191 to schedule your visit today!

Lee A. Kleiman

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology.