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Other Causes of Ear Pain

Ear pain is not always caused by your ear.  In fact, other conditions can cause significant ear pain.

TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ)

Issues with your jaw joint or what is called the TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ) can lead to ear pain. The front part of the ear canal is part of what makes up your jaw joint. There are nerves that help bring sensation and movement to both the jaw as well as your middle ear and because of this, pain in the jaw can cause pain in your ear. If you have a history of clenching or grinding your teeth, this can cause issues with your TMJ and further cause ear pain.

Typically, you may just have pain that feels deep in the ear without any change to your hearing or drainage from the ear. In this case, using a warm compress, gently massaging your jaw joint, wearing a mouth guard at night and keeping your diet soft may help with the pain. 

Neck/Cervical Spine Conditions

If you have neck pain or have trouble with arthritis related to your neck, this can also lead to pain in the ears. If your neck is sore or you experience headaches and/or burning of your neck as well as ear pain, this may all be related. This may be associated with an intense pain or pressure of the neck, ear and on the same side of your face. 

Dental Issues

Many dental issues - cavities, gum disease, tooth infection, etc. can lead to pain in the ears. Though there may be nothing wrong with your ear, there are nerves (that supply sensation and movement) that are involved with both the mouth/jaw and ear that can make your dental pain cause ear pain.

If you think you might have an ear infection, and would like to make an appointment to see one of the ENT physicians, please call MetroHealth Medical Center at 216-778-8890.