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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Will ear infection cause pain in back of head

08/22/2000

Question:

Regarding continued earwax build-up, when removed discolored, odor, where removed from in the ear is now on each ear a red sore, has had condition for several months, first of week in back of head in line with ears experienced severe pain, unable to bear pain for 15-20 seconds, no warning, this happened twice within a half hour, and has not returned again, As a child my son had a swimmers ear infection, very bad, he is now 35yr. and continues with the wax-buildup and has some pain, can you help with any ideas, and do you think the pain was related to the ears? Thank you.

Answer:

Pain in the back of the head would be an extremely unusual result from ear problems. I would recommend further evaluation by your primary care physician to look for different causes before trying to idenitfy the ears as the source of the problem.

As far as the earwax is concerned, this is a very common "condition". Normally, the ear canal cleanses itself and wax works its way out of the ear. However, for some, the wax tends to accumulate in the ear canal. Some people have good results with earwax "dissolving" drops or kits, however, it is necessary to make sure that the ear is otherwise healthy. If there were a perforation of the eardrum (for example) or an ear infection, then using these drops is contraindicated. An exam and initial cleaning of the ears by your physician is recommended. Of note, we have many patients that we see on an annual or every 6 month basis for routine ear cleanings.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati