7 Common Causes Of Ear Pain

There are many causes of ear pain. This pain may occur as a dull ache or a sharp pain that makes it hard for the victim to focus on work or studies. The pain may also be continuous or may come in spasms. Here are some common causes of ear pain.

Ear Wax

Ear wax is naturally produced by the ear. In a healthy human being, the ear also gets rid of the wax. However, sometimes this process does not work as it should. When that happens, then the wax builds up in the ear and may cause your ear canal to get blocked. Worse still, the wax hardens over time and may even lead to infections. At this point, the victim will experience pain and the ear may even have a discharge if the wax has led to an infection. In extreme cases, patients sometimes lose the ability to hear as the wax prevents the ear from functioning properly. For mild ear wax blockages, there are medications that exist that can get rid of ear wax.

Air Pressure

This occurs when the ear is unable to keep equal air pressure on the two sides of the eardrum. This can happen due to sudden changes in your physical position. For example, when you get on an elevator or a plane, the ear may be unable to maintain that balance and could cause pain. For most people, the problem quickly resolves itself but some people have a chronic condition and suffer from this problem frequently.

Swimmer’s Ear

This refers to the condition where water is trapped in the ear canal and causes infection. Typically, the problem manifests itself through intense redness of the ear as well as swelling and pus. If you are out swimming, ensure that you dry your ears thoroughly. It is however easy to treat through topical antibiotics.

Middle Ear Infection

This is one of the most common causes of ear pain. Here, the ear is affected by colds or sinus infections. When this happens, the ear canal blocks and leads to an infection.

Tooth Abscess

This refers to a condition where bacterial infection affects the gum tissue in the mouth. This infection is often painless at the start but becomes extremely painful in the later stages. The swelling in the gums may also affect the ears, causing dull pain. Treating the infection is often enough to get rid of the earache.

TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joint is located at the far end of the jaw and helps to hinge the upper and lower jaws. Due to a variety of reasons, the area around this joint can get injured or infected. This is what is referred to as TMJ disorder. This in turn can cause ear pain and facial swelling.


While this is rare, tumors in the mouth or on the face can also cause ear pain. This kind of ear pain will normally not go away even with some of the treatment approaches described here. If you have a persistent earache, it is wise to see a doctor immediately.