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Your ear has felt off for a week, but you can’t quite place why. After hours of childish one-sided arguments with yourself and everyone else in the room, you realize it must be a dull pain in your ear.

It must be an ear infection, right?  We understand you’ve waited this long to check up on the pain. We get it, and we’re here to understand you. Now that you’re here, let’s discuss the causes of ear pain.

Read on!

Medically Diagnosed

Ear pain is a common complaint for many people and can have many causes. The leading medically diagnosed by otolaryngologists are acute otitis media, glue ear, ear infection, impacted earwax, foreign body in the ear, chronic otitis media, Bell’s palsy, sinus infection, Temporomandibular joint pain, and Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Acute otitis media is the outer ear inflammation caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Glue ear is a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum and can lead to hearing loss.

An ear infection is an inflammation of the middle ear caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Impacted earwax can be caused by improper ear cleaning or accumulation over time leading to blockage in the ear and inner ear pain.


Ear pain can result from trauma-induced ear injuries, including physical injuries from accidents or even surgery.

A physical injury can include something as minor as a cotton swab inserted too far into the ear canal or an infectious agent that can enter through a punctured eardrum.


Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold, or pet dander can irritate the eustachian tube, leading to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membrane. This can cause increased fluid production in the middle ear, leading to pain, discomfort, and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.

Other common causes of ear pain from allergies include sinus infection, allergic rhinitis, eustachian tube dysfunction, and temporal arteritis. Treatment for ear pain due to allergies typically involves avoiding the allergen and using medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Sinus Pressure

Ear pain due to sinus pressure can be a debilitating problem. Sinus pressure occurs when the nasal and sinus cavities become congested with mucus. This can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection in the nasal passages or an allergy that has caused swelling within the nasal cavities.

The pressure of the swollen tissue and mucus can cause ear pain, usually behind or around the ears. Additionally, mucus can also travel down the eustachian tubes that link the sinus passages to the ears. If the build-up is significant, it can increase pressure and pain in the area.

Other causes of ear pain due to sinus pressure include sinus headaches, which can be excruciatingly intense, and sinus infections that can pressure other parts of the head, including the ears.

The Main Causes of Ear Pain

Ear pain has many common causes, including infections, allergies, wax buildup, air pressure changes, and nasal congestion. It is important to have regular check-ups to identify and treat any underlying medical conditions quickly to avoid pain and hearing loss.

If you are experiencing any of these causes of ear pain, make an appointment with your regular doctor.

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