What Causes an Earache?

Q: I have an awful earache. What should I do?
-By Sama


The commonest reason for such ear aches is a throat infection. This could be viral (flu) or bacterial in origin.

Do you have any other symptom like cough, running nose, throat pain, fever, body ache, fatigue etc.?

There is a tube like passage called eustachian tube which connects the throat with the middle ear. When we have any throat infection, this tube also gets affected and the resultant pressure is felt in the middle ear. The sensory nerve endings of the ear drum feel this pressure and give pain. This earache can be very excruciating.

You may need antibiotics (like augmentin) and over the counter pain relievers (acetaminophen) to treat it. 

Other Reasons of Pain in the Ears

There may many other reasons of ear ache. The diagnosis is made on the basis of examination and associated symptoms. 

These include:

  • Any dental problem. Pain in tooth or jaw gets referred to the ear.
  • A dental abscess, formed by decay in a tooth.
  • Impacted wax in the ear.
  • Infection of the outer ear, may be a boil or a furuncle.
  • Eczema of the ear canal.
  • Ear injury.
  • Sinus infection, the pain may be referred to the ear.

Let us know any other symptom you have. If it’s a throat infection, you may require antibiotics.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “What Causes an Ear ache?

  1. Misty

    I tore the tissue in my ear canal. Then I started breaking out in these bumps. It feels as if I am being bit by something under my skin. I also have a lot if fluid built up under my skin. Could this be staph?

  2. MB

    Good day,
    I had seek a Doc to remove a cotton swab left inside my right ear like 3 weeks ago. After a week, my ear started to itch badly that I need to use a cotton bud just to ease the itchiness. I’ve felt mild pain and itchiness at same time but not always and my husband told me to use peroxide sometimes to clean it. I am worrying if I’ve got an ear infection though I don’t usually feel pain but more on itchiness in everyday. Please help, thank you Doc!

        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Likely to be an infection. You may start using ciprofloxacin ear drops, two drops, in both the ears. Use it for a week.

          If it doesn’t improve, you need to see an ENT for physical exam.


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