Ear Pain or Something Else?

If you're experiencing ear pain, you may automatically assume there's an issue with your ear. Believe it or not, however, there are some instances of ear pain that have nothing to do with ear-related problems. So the question is do you have ear pain or something else? Let's dive deeper into a few of the most common causes of ear pain that may surprise you.

Otitis Media

Otitis media refers to diseases that are widely seen in younger individuals. They are essentially eardrum infections and often arise when the Eustachian tube has not been developed properly. If you're an adult with serious allergies, you may experience otitis media and an ear infection. Here's why: A head cold may cause problems with the Eustachian tube and eventually result in an ear infection.

Acute Otitis Externa

Acute Otitis Externa is the scientific term for swimmer's ear. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a swimmer to develop it. A shower or bath can place additional moisture in your ear and cause the condition.

Swimmer's ear has nothing to do with the eardrum. In fact, it occurs when the ear canal becomes infected. Since swimmer's ear and ear canal infections come with similar symptoms, you may have to consult an ENT doctor to determine which one you have.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw to your skull. It's important because it makes it possible for you to open and close your jaw. Without your TMJ, you wouldn't be able to speak, eat, and breathe.

Even though TMJ may cause ear pain, this condition is not related to your ear. It's all about the TMJ and the irritation it may face due to clenching, grinding, stress, or gum chewing. TMJ is often more prevalent during the winter and holiday season when people are typically more stressed.

Other Conditions

Ear pain can also occur when earwax builds up in your ear, hardens, and blocks your ear canal. In addition, it may pop up due to air pressure changes on an airplane or hike, a toothache, or an infection such as pharyngitis or tonsillitis.

Consult an ENT Doctor

If your ear pain persists for more than a few days, it's in your best interest to visit an ENT doctor. They can perform a physical exam, rule out serious conditions, and design an appropriate treatment plan. Most importantly, an ENT doctor can help you find the long-term relief you deserve.


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