Experiencing a sudden sharp pain in the ear is relatively common. While it may not always stir concern, it is not right to dismiss the pain every time because, although rare, the cause may be a marker of any deep underlying issue. In this blog, we have detailed 9 common reasons for stabbing pain in your ear, along with relief methods.
- Earwax Buildup
The top cause of sharp ear pain is the over accumulation of earwax. Your ear canal has the power to naturally expel earwax, but trying to remove it with cotton swabs can exacerbate the issue. Instead, the better route is using over-the-counter ear drops to soften the wax for natural drainage. There are chances of eardrum damage in severe cases; therefore, do not just let it be; get your ear properly checked by a professional.
- Hole in the Eardrum
Some of the signs that present when eardrums have a hole include:
- Sudden loss of hearing
- Muted hearing
- Sharp ear pain
- A scratch in your ear
- Sinus Infection
Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, are also a major trigger of sharp ear pain due to inflammation and swelling of the sinuses. It often leads to mucus buildup, resulting in breathing difficulties through the nose. Other than ear pain, this issue comes up with other signs such as:
- Aching teeth
- Bad breath
Fortunately, sinus infections resolve on their own, but in rare situations, complications like meningitis or chronic sinusitis may occur.
Otitis is an infection that affects the inner in which the Eustachian tube is affected, or the outer ear, impacting the ear canal. Symptoms may include the following:
- Difficulty hearing
- A feeling of fullness
- Pressure in ear
- Lack of energy.
- Swimmer’s Ear
It is a common condition that strikes those who spend most of their time in pools or oceans. Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal that results from water trapped in the canal, aiding in bacterial growth. Symptoms include:
- Ear pain
- Fluid drainage
- Muffled hearing
Treatment is simple and involves medications to manage symptoms and eliminate the root cause- bacteria or fungi.
- Foreign Object
Be it anything, from a small toy to a cleaning swab, anything dislodged in your ear can result in sharp ear pain. What makes it worse is the attempt to remove it at home; therefore, it is best to seek professional assistance to prevent harm to the ear or hearing loss.
- Air Pressure
Changes in air pressure are inevitable. This dynamic is common during air travel or elevation changes, which lead to this discomfort. In case of rapid pressure differences, like those in elevators, your ears may feel a stabbing sensation; that is, they are trying to adjust to the change. The good news is that simple actions like swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum can help them adjust to this.
- Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
This condition affects the joint connecting your jawbone to the skull. Mostly, it is due to arthritis or trauma. Signs you may notice, other than ear pain, include jaw discomfort and difficulty opening the mouth fully. In such a situation, doctors offer oral splints, mouth guards, or surgery.
- Ear injury from pressure changes
Damage to the ears or barotrauma results from pressure changes between the ear’s inner and outer layers.
Ear Pain Relief
You must contact our trustworthy physician, Dr. Fakhri Kalolwala, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician who graduated with honors from both the University of Houston immediately. In the meantime, use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen for temporary relief.
Other than that, applying a cool or warm compress to the affected ear may also help alleviate pain. If these remedies do not work, get prescription medicines like stronger pain relievers or antibiotics for bacterial infections.
Diagnosing the correct cause for your ear pain can help you get the right treatment. If you are in such a situation where your earache is getting worse, contact Aqeeq Internal Medicine. Do not hesitate to set up an appointment by dialing (832) 786-8195 to seek our help. You can also drop by our office in Houston, Texas.