Pain in and around the ear


Pain in or around the ear can have several causes. On the one hand, they can be caused directly by diseases of the ear such as caused by an otitis media.

On the other hand, other diseases in the head or neck area can trigger the pain in / on the ear.
The pain can vary from mild to severe and can affect everyday life to a great extent. Earache is often associated with tinnitus and is not uncommon in children and adults.


As mentioned earlier, ear pain can not only be from one Ear disease like one Otitis media but can also be a symptom of another disease. The possible causes of pain in or around the ear are described below.

Pain in the ear

Ear pain can be various Diseases of the ear underlie.

For example, it can be a Otitis media (Otitis media), which is often a cold has preceded. The Viruses or bacteria easily accessible via the Oropharynx through the tuba (Connection between oropharynx and Middle ear) into the middle ear and cause inflammation there. Symptoms of a Otitis media are often strong Earache, Tinnitus, fever, Hearing problems and a general feeling of illness.

In addition to otitis media, the outer ear canal by Bacteria, fungi or cold or wet surroundings ignite. An otitis media can also spread to the external ear canal. In addition to ear pain you can Tenderness and a swollen auricle occur.

Violations of Eardrum also prepare sharp pain in the ear. The eardrum can be injured by external and internal influences. These include inflammation, blows to the ear or extreme exposure to noise (Pop trauma). In addition to the pain in the ear, there is also one sudden hearing lossas it is the function of the eardrum to carry sound to the middle ear.

Furthermore you can Boils or tumors in the ear and on the Auricular pain cause.

Ear entrance pain

Of the Tragus is a small cartilage, which is located just before the entrance of the external auditory canal and thus offers protection against the ingress of foreign bodies. Pain when pressure is applied to the tragus is often indicative of a Inflammation of the external ear canal (External otitis). Furthermore, inflammation and thus pain can occur directly on the tragus razor piercing arise.

Ear and jaw pain

Because the ears are very close to the jaw, ear pain is often confused with jaw pain. The dentist notices the grinding of the teeth during a routine examination, since the tooth structure shows strong wear, especially on the chewing surfaces, and a receding gums can also be recorded.

A common cause of jaw pain is teeth grinding (Bruxism).
Bruxism is mostly triggered by stress. The jaw muscles tense up during sleep and the teeth are pressed together. This also results in severe wear and tear on the teeth. This pressing together can then become noticeable in tension and painful chewing muscles - even during the day - and is perceived as pain in the jaw.

In addition, pain in the jaw can result from a viral or bacterial inflammation in the jaw (e.g. after a wisdom tooth operation with opening of the maxillary sinus). The pain can also radiate into the ears.

The dentist works through the tooth wear Bruxism (Grinding teeth) with a bite guard. In addition, relaxation exercises for the jaw muscles can help release tension and reduce teeth grinding.

However, inflammation of the parotid gland can also lead to pain in the ear, as the salivary gland is in the immediate vicinity of the ear. This pain in the parotid gland can also radiate into the jaw and masticatory muscles.

Please also read our article on this Pain in jaw and ear.

Temporomandibular joint pain and ear pain

This can also be done here Grinding teeth be named as the cause. Symptoms that indicate this are, for example, a cracking when opening the jaw or also Pain in opening the jaw and while chewing. This pain can radiate back into the ears.

Furthermore is a Misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (Craniomandibular dysfunction) a possibility, Jaw and ear pain trigger. The interaction between the joints and the masticatory muscles is disturbed and causes symptoms such as pain in the ear.
The deformity can Result of long grinding of teeth but can also be through a Displacement of the spine, the one Misalignment of the jaw cause can be triggered.

Besides the Pain in the jaw - which are usually described as dull and can be noticeable both during the chewing movement and at rest - and the pain in the ear can also be felt in the Head and neck area radiate. In addition, a Tinnitus to make noticable.

Temple pain and ear pain

Pain in the temples, the side a headache can be achieved simply by wearing a glasses to be triggered. The glasses press on someone running along the temple nervecausing pain. This tenderness can result in the Ear region radiate.

Even with one Temporal arteritis, with the strong, throbbing Temporal headache are typical, can Pain in the ear occur. This is a rheumatic vascular diseaseat which it becomes a Inflammation in the vessel comes the one Vasoconstriction has the consequence.
Especially under physical strain, there is an undersupply and pain in the temple area, which can radiate into the ears.

Sore throat and ear pain

A acute thyroid inflammationwhich is mostly triggered by bacteria, causes pain from the neck to the ears. This happens when you touch the thyroid to aggravate the pain and it can be a Reddening of the overlying skin to be watched. It can also be from Fever, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness be accompanied.

Also one Lateral cord angina (Pharyngitis) can cause pain in the ears. Both Lateral cords are the lymph vessels on the back of the pharynx, which are usually found in the lateral cordangina Viruses ignite.

The side strands start at the tuba (Connection between throat and ear) and can also be used in the case of a virus infection Earache cause. The lateral cordangina usually heals on its own after a few days.

Another cause of ear pain can be a Tonsillitis (Tonsillar angina) be. Here is an inflammation of the Palatine tonsils cause pain in the throat and when swallowing, which can be felt in the ears and the corners of the jaw.

Inflammation of the tonsils can also cause one Otitis media cause the pathogens through the throat and the Middle ear connecting tuba can penetrate the ear. This then leads to the typical earache, which is usually described as very severe.

A Sinus infection (Sinusitis) can also spread into the ear and cause pain there. Most of all, there is pressure and pain in the cheeks and forehead - the nose feels blocked.

Another infectious disease that can cause earache is that Pfeiffer's glandular fever (Mononucleosis infectiosa). The disease is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) triggered. Since the mouth and throat are also affected here, an infection can spread into the Ears spread and cause pain there.

Cancers of the mouth and throat (Oropharyngeal cancer) can be for two reasons Earache cause: If it is a tumor that presses on nerves in the throat that lead to the ears, pain can be triggered. On the other hand it comes with Mouth and throat cancer often too Sore throat radiating into the ears.

Headache and ear pain

In general, the Combination of ear and headache at one a flu-like infection be thought of in the ear, nose and throat area. Especially if you have more typical flu symptoms like Fever, sore throat, Runny nose or dizziness added, it can be assumed that it is an infection.
However, the symptoms should improve or disappear after a few days. If this is not the case, further possible causes should be considered.

Pain in the scalp and pain in the ear

When the scalp is stinging and boring and especially sensitive to touch is, it can be a Occipital neuralgia (Occipital neuralgia) act.
A neuralgia is a technical term for Nerve pain. In the Occipital neuralgia are the occipital nerves (Nervi occipitalis major and minor)running from the back of the head forward to the forehead and temples, irritated.

Often there is only one side affected by the neuralgia and can in the course also Pain in the ears cause the Occipital nerves partially supply the area.
Pain can also occur in the eyes or upper arms.
The irritation of the nerves can have various reasons.
These include Infection or inflammation, gout, Spine problems like Herniated discs of the cervical spine, Osteoarthritis or muscle tension in the neck.

Ear pain and toothache

Generally can Toothache Radiate into the ears and cause pain there.
It is also possible that a toothache may develop during an infection. This is often a Inflammation of the sinuseswhich, in addition to dental problems, can also cause earache. By the weakened immune system teeth can become infected and toothache (sinusogenic toothache) cause. Usually there is already a dental problem.

Ear pain and fluid

Increased fluid formation of the Ear mucosa is often through Inflammation in the ear triggered. This inflammation is mainly caused by Viruses and bacteriabut can also be caused by foreign objects or injuries in the ear.
So it happens e.g. at a acute Otitis media increased production of aqueous fluid. If bacteria or viruses get into the ear, this effusion becomes thick and purulent. The purulent and partly also bloody secretion can over the outer Ear canal flow away. In addition come severe earache. In addition, patients complain Sensation of pressure in the ear and hearing loss.

If blood is leaking from the ear, it can be for a number of reasons. For example, you can minor injuries due to rough cleaning or foreign bodies Cause bleeding. These are usually not strong, stop after a short time and hardly cause pain. Also a Pop traumawhere the eardrum being injured can cause bleeding.

But if there is heavy bleeding from the ear, you should see a doctor. For example, accidents involving blows to the head can cause one Skull fracture lead and a Cerebral hemorrhage cause blood to come out of the ears as well.
Immediate medical help is required here.

In rare cases it occurs at Tumors in the ear canal to leak blood.

Pain in the ear in the child

Ear pain in younger children is not uncommon in the first few years of life.

There are several causes of earache in children. Often times it is not caused by a serious medical condition, but parents or caregivers should be aware of some symptoms.

When should you see a doctor?

Earache can have many reasons. Generally one should ENT doctor - especially if children and young people suffer from earache. They will take a detailed medical history and examination so that the cause of the earache can be found. In this way, unpleasant consequential damage can be prevented and the disease can be treated correctly.
You should too never try to remove foreign objects yourselfso that no structures in the ear can be injured or parts of the foreign body can be forgotten or overlooked.


Once the cause of the earache has been found, the disease can be treated.
foreign body can be gently removed by a doctor. A Otitis media or a Infection in the nasopharynx are usually treated with medication (in addition to rest and tea). Since it usually increases with an acute otitis media Ventilation problems comes can decongestant Nasal sprays help with that Mucous membrane to calm and improve the ventilation to accelerate healing. In addition, in the case of fever and pain, antipyretic or pain reliever tablets (Ibuprofen or Paracetamol) can be taken.

Is it a bacterial inflammation in the ear or nasopharynxthe doctor can Antibiotics prescribe. Furthermore there is Ear dropsthat can be used for earache. These contain, for example, the active ingredient Procaine, which one reversibly sensitive nerve fibers and thus inhibits pain.
Are the earache by a Dental problem triggered, this must be treated by a dentist.

Home remedies

Home remedies can be used depending on the cause of the earache.
However, since not all home remedies are advisable for every cause of earache and can sometimes aggravate them or cause consequential damage such as long-term hearing loss or even facial paralysis, a doctor should be consulted as to whether the home remedy would promote healing.

Read more on the topic: Home remedies for earache

A home remedy for ear infections is, for example, the juice from an onion.
The onions are cut into small pieces and squeezed in a handkerchief. The onion juice is caught by the handkerchief. This should now be placed on the inflamed ear for half an hour. The onion juice has an antibacterial and disinfectant effect.

In addition to treating with onion juice, heat can also help relieve inflammation and reduce pain. A red light lamp or a heated cherry stone pillow is suitable for this. Care should be taken to ensure that the warmth is always pleasant and does not cause burns. So the cherry stone pillow should not be too hot or the red light lamp should not be too hot.50cm.

In the case of otitis media, a chamomile steam bath can relieve pain and accelerate healing. The chamomile flowers are infused with boiling water and the diseased ear is held over the steam for a few minutes. Here, too, it is important to ensure that the ear is not exposed to excessive heat.


Earache cannot always be prevented, especially if you have a Infection in the nasopharynx accompanied. However, with the right care or careful behavior after a visit to the swimming pool, the risk can be reduced.
So should Cotton swabs are generally not used for cleaning the ears be used. A damp cloth is enough to gently clean the auricle and the beginning of the external ear canal. In this way, injuries and inflammation in the ear can be reduced.

You should also rinse your ears after visiting a swimming pool, as the chlorinated water can irritate the mucous membrane. The water in the swimming pool also makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate Inflammation and pain in the ear cause.
A swimming cap should therefore be worn if you swim frequently.