Common Causes of Earaches
The ear may appear to be a small part of the body, but it is actually made up of a lot of parts. The intricate structure of the ear is the primary reason we have great hearing, but it can also cause some problems. If one part of the ear is not functioning properly, then you will likely experience intense pain or pressure. There are various causes of earaches in the different sections of the ear.
Outer Ear Pain
The outer ear is the part of the ear that sits on the side of your head. It will usually take some sort of trauma to cause an outer earache. This trauma can be caused by a sunburn, skin infection or blunt force to the outside of your ear. Pain on the outside of the ear will only be experienced when the ear cartilage becomes inflamed or infected.
Ear Canal Inflammation
A common cause of earaches is inflammation in the ear canal. This condition is commonly referred to as swimmer’s ear. This name was created because the pain is usually caused by trapped water in the ear. Bacteria starts to grow if the water stays in the ear too long, which can lead to a bad infection. Impacted ear wax will also lead to ear canal pain.
The middle ear separates the inner ear and the ear drum. It also contains all of the nerves that help your hear, so middle ear pain is often a very serious problem. Almost all middle earaches are caused by some sort of infection. A virus or bacteria begins to collect in the middle ear, which leads to pain, pressure and fullness.
The eardrum is designed to vibrate when it is hit by sound. This vibration is then transmitted to the brain to help you recognize the sounds. A traumatic event will be the main cause of your eardrum pain. This trauma can be caused by directly poking the ear drum with a long object or when the ear drum ruptures after being placed under too much pressure.
It is also possible to experience an earache when there is absolutely nothing wrong with your ear. This is called radiating ear pain because the main source of the pain is coming from somewhere else on the body. Tooth aches and cavities are the most common cause of radiating earaches. TMJ disorder, sinusitis, tonsillitis, thyroid inflammation and throat inflammation will also cause radiating earaches. These medical conditions cause you to feel pain in the ear because they occur in body parts that are in close proximity to the ear.
Make an appointment at the office of Daniel J. Leeman, MD in Austin to learn more about the causes of this condition. Once we know what the cause is, we can take steps to alleviate your uncomfortable symptoms. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!