Ear Pain

Ear Pain Q & A

What causes ear pain?

Ear pain has a number of causes, including an ear infection, which occurs when an infection develops either in the outer portion of the ear or  in the ear.. However, there are several other causes of ear pain. Ear pain may also be due conditions like jaw and dental problems,, sinus infections, eustachian tube inflammation and throat infections or even in rare cases throat tumors.

Does ear pain mean a patient has an ear infection?

Ear pain can indicate an ear infection, but can also indicate other conditions. Patients who have persistent or recurrent ear pain should see Dr. Astrachan or Dr. Hecht to determine the underlying cause.

Does ear pain require an antibiotic to treat?

Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Sometimes ear pain is due to a bacterial infection, but most often, in the adult, other conditions cause the pain. Patients only need an antibiotic if they have a  bacterial ear infection.

What remedies are available for ear pain?

Depending on the cause of the pain multiple treatments exist.  Warm or cold compresses may help to reduce discomfort, and many patients find relief with pain relieving medications or anti-inflammatory medicines. Middle ear infections (otitis media) may require oral antibiotics, while external ear infections (otitis externa), such as swimmer's ear, may require medicated eardrops.

What is the cause of jaw pain?

Jaw pain can be linked to a number of conditions. Dental infections can have referred pain that spreads to the jaw, and problems with the jaw joint itself also causes jaw pain. Sometimes poor bite alignment causes jaw pain. Commonly, tension and stress leading to teeth clenching or grinding can cause pain in and around the ear.

What’s TMJ?

Sometimes ear pain and jaw pain are due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This occurs when the hinge that connects the upper and lower jaw doesn't work properly, and can cause the jaw to feel like it gets stuck or pops. It can cause headache, pain when opening the jaw, tenderness of the jaw muscles, and a "locked jaw." The best way to determine the cause of ear pain and jaw pain and rule out the complication of TMJ is to make an appointment with Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut.

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