Earache: Causes, Treatments & Prevention
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What causes earache? 20 possible conditions

Earaches usually occur in children, but they can occur in adults as well. An earache may affect one or both ears, but the majority of the time it is in one ear. Read more

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Earwax Blockage

An earwax blockage is when your earwax either hardens or pushes too far into your ear canal.

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2

Otitis Externa

An outer ear infection is an infection in the tube that connects the opening of the ear to the eardrum.

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3

Foreign Body in Ear

In medical terms, a foreign object is something that is in the body but does not belong there. It may be inserted into the body accidentally or intentionally.

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4

Middle Ear Infection

A middle ear infection (otitis media), occurs when a virus or bacteria causes the area behind the eardrum to become inflamed. It is most common in children.

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5

Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)

A sinus infection causes the sinuses and nasal passages to become inflamed. Facial swelling is a common sign of this type of infection.

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6

Sore Throat

A sore throat refers to pain, itchiness, or irritation of the throat. You may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids, and increased pain when you swallow.

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7

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils (the lymph tissue in your throat) become infected. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, and swollen tonsils. Fortunately, it's normally easily diagnosed and treated.

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8

Mastoiditis

If an infection develops in your middle ear and blocks your Eustachian tube, it may subsequently lead to a serious infection in the mastoid bone.

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9

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders are problems with the joints and muscles that connect the lower jaw to the skull on both sides of the head right below the ears that cause tenderness in the joint, facia...

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10

Ear Barotrauma

Ear barotrauma, also known as airplane ear, is a condition that causes ear discomfort when you experience pressure changes, such as altitude change.

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11

Chronic Ear Infection

A chronic ear infection can be either an ear infection that doesn't heal or a recurring ear infection. Your doctor will need to help you treat it.

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12

Malignant Otitis Externa

Malignant otitis externa occurs when an ear infection spreads to the outer ear and surrounding tissue.

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13

Eardrum Rupture

An eardrum rupture is a small hole or tear in your eardrum, or tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane is a thin tissue that divides your middle ear and outer ear canal. This membrane vibrates when sound waves ente...

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14

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the technical name for teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Learn why people grind their teeth (stress, misaligned teeth, posture) and explore information about the symptoms and treatments for bruxism now.

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15

Menieres Disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It's not known what causes it, but there are a variety of treatments available to help with the symptoms.

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16

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a chronic, painful condition involving the nerve responsible for carrying the sensation of pain and other sensations from the face to the brain. The condition causes intense pain in part o...

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17

Bell’s Palsy

Bell's palsy causes a temporary weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles. Learn about its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

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18

Subacute Thyroiditis

Subacute thyroiditis is a rare type of thyroiditis. Learn about subacute thyroiditis symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

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19

Chlorine Poisoning

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Chlorine poisoning can occur when you swallow or inhale chlorine. It reacts with water inside and outside of the body to form dangerous compounds. It can cause digestive, respiratory, skin, and circulatory problems.

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20

Acoustic Neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that grows on the nerve that connects your brain and your ear.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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