6 Possible Causes of Ear Pain

Posted on October 12, 2018

Category: Causes and Prevention

An earache is an awful thing to endure. At Urgent Care, we understand that ear pain can be unrelenting and often makes it nearly impossible to focus. We’ve compiled a list of 6 possible causes for ear pain to help you understand your earache, take steps to recover and get over that pesky pain.

  1. Ruptured Eardrum
    A ruptured or perforated eardrum is commonly caused by loud, sudden sounds, a middle ear infection, barotrauma (inner ear stress caused by an air pressure imbalance between your middle ear and the environment), or objects being inserted into the ear. A ruptured eardrum can lead to hearing loss or a middle ear infection.
  2. Tinnitus
    Tinnitus is most commonly characterized as a ringing or buzzing in the ears. There are two kinds of tinnitus: subjective and objective. If an urgent care physician can hear the ringing in your ears, it is likely caused by a middle ear bone condition, blood vessel issues, or muscle contractions and is classified as objective tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is far more common and can be caused by problems with your auditory nerves, the way your brain interprets sound, or problems with your inner, middle, or outer ear.
  3. Swimmer’s Ear
    Swimmer’s ear is a kind of ear infection that takes place in the ear canal and is often caused by bacteria in the water. Itching pain, redness, and fluid drainage are some common symptoms of the infection, and the severity of these symptoms can worsen as the infection progresses. Consult with your Urgent Care physician at the first sign of swimmer’s ear. Though it is rarely serious, complications from swimmer’s ear can lead to long-term consequences.
  4. Ear Infection
    Other types of ear infection can take place in the middle and outer ears. Chronic skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis can significantly increase the possibility of an outer ear infection. Some conditions, such as diabetes or conditions that cause a weakened immune system, can also increase the possibility of infection.
  5. Tonsillitis
    Earaches accompanied with a severe sore throat are likely caused by an infection such as tonsillitis or pharyngitis. Tonsillitis can be caused by viruses or bacterial infection and is common among children. In addition to a sore throat and an earache, tonsillitis sufferers will likely experience swollen tonsils and a fever. In younger children, tonsillitis can be accompanied by increased irritability, excessive drooling, or a poor appetite.
  6. Referred Sources
    Though you are feeling pain in your ear, the origin of the pain may actually be somewhere else in the body; this is called a “referred source.” The most common referred source for ear pain is changes to your teeth. Abscesses, cavities, impacted molars, or damage to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can all cause you to experience pain in your ear.

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