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Why Do I Get Frequent Ear Pains?

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Most of us have suffered from ear pain at some point in our lives. However, some individuals are prone to getting frequent ear pains. It is not only an excruciatingly painful experience but may affect daily functioning.

A man suffering the Ear Pain.

Most common causes for your recurrent ear pains

  • Ear wax

  • Air pressure changes in the ear

  • Fluid in ear/ Glue ear

  • Repeated boils in the ear canal

  • Frequent ear infections

  • Tooth infections

  • Jaw conditions

  • Nerve pains

Ear wax

Wax is a normal secretion in the body, like sweat. Just like some people sweat more, some individuals tend to accumulate ear wax. It may build up in the ear canal and cause itching, pressure, pain, and hearing loss. It is advisable not to use earbuds as they may push the wax deep in the canal or cause injury. You may use over-the-counter wax-softening ear drops. It would be best if you visit a specialist for the removal of hard wax.


Air pressure changes in the ear

Blockage of the tube connecting the ear to the nose (Eustachian Tube; ET) may cause failure to equalize pressure in the ears. It’s normal to hear a popping of the ear with yawning or a swallow. These acts help in maintaining ear pressure under normal circumstances. Your ET may get blocked during nasal and throat infections or sudden atmospheric pressure changes in mountains, airplanes, or diving. To avoid ear pains because of ET failure

  • Avoid diving or air/mountain travel when suffering from the common cold

  • Avoid sleeping during flights

  • Frequently suck candy or chew on gums

  • Gently pinch your nose and blow air out till you hear a pop(avoid aggressive blowing)

Fluid in ear/ Glue ear

Young children often develop fluid in the ear which affects their hearing and development. This is called Otitis media with effusion (OME). Allergies, nose infections, and ET malfunction may contribute to fluid accumulation behind the eardrum. In adults, it may be a signal towards another sinister underlying condition. Ear fluid usually causes dull pain. Your ENT specialist would be able to drain the fluid and prescribe a suitable treatment

Frequent ear infections

Frequent use of pins or earbuds and repeated scratching of the ear may lead to boils in the ear canal. You may have a hole in your eardrum, which may lead to repeated ear infections. Avoid scratching and protect the ear from water while bathing. Ask your doctor for medications. She may give you oral antibiotics or ear drops.


Other causes

Tooth caries, jaw arthritis, and throat complaints may all give rise to ear pains. Occasionally a nerve may get pressed or swell up to give rise to severe sharp pain in the ear. Such type of pain is called “Referred Pain”. It starts at one point but is felt at another. It is essential not to ignore these pains and seek timely medical advice.

Can you do something at home?

Repeated ear pains warrant a detailed medical examination and treatment of the cause. However, you may use some simple home remedies for pain

  • Cold compresses and applying a cold towel may ease pain

  • Try resting in propped position to avoid pressure build-up in the ear

  • Yawn or swallow to pop open the ET

  • Over-the-counter painkillers work for simple pain

If your ear pains don’t subside with common remedies or increase in frequency or severity, then seek valid medical advise. If the ear pains are associated with giddiness, headaches, blurred vision or pain radiating to other part of body, then contact your ENT specialist at the earliest.

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