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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

It hurts to touch my ear...

07/14/2006

Question:

I am 21 years old and just recently started having pains in my ears. Often times if I`m on the phone too much it will start hurting, or if I sleep on only one side all night. The ear begins to hurt to the touch and soon after it hurts anytime I open my mouth or even think about it. Recently though, the pain has been coming and going when there wasn`t any cause involved. It`ll happen in the middle of the day without any long phone calls or one-sided sleeping. The pain will typically start in one ear, get really painful and then go into the other ear. One ear always hurts more than the other and sometimes it won`t grow painful enough in the first ear to move to the second. I was curious what I could do about this. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thank you.

Answer:

I would recommend seeing an ear specialist (otologist) to assess for an ear infection.

You could also be having problems related to your jaw joints (TMJ disorder).  Pay attention to whether you grind your teeth at night, and whether the pain is worse with chewing and eating.  Try applying heat to see if this helps.

 

For more information:

Go to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Ravi N Samy, MD, FACS Ravi N Samy, MD, FACS
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Skull Base Surgery Fellowship, Director of Adults Cochlear Implantation Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati