Ear Pain

Otalgia or an earache is ear pain.


  • Primary otalgia is ear pain that originates inside the ear.
  • Referred otalgia is ear pain that originates from outside the ear.

Otalgia is not always associated with ear disease. It may be caused by several other conditions, such as impacted teeth, sinus disease, inflamed tonsils, infections in the nose and pharynx, throat cancer, and occasionally as a sensory aura that precedes a migraine.


Causes within the ear(primary earache)
Pinna: Trauma, Infection, Swelling, Frost-bite, Sunburn.
Ear-canal: Otitis externa, impacted wax, boils Herpes zoster.
Middle ear: Acute otitis media, Eustachian tube blockage, Glue ear.

Causes outside ear (Referred earache)

  • Carious tooth, impacted wisdom tooth
  • Temporo-Mandibular joint disorder
  • Oral cavity and tongue-ulcers
  • Nose and sinuses infection
  • After adenoids surgery/ mumps/ parotitis
  • Pharyngitis/tonsillitis, after tonsillectomy surgery 
  • Laryngitis
  • Cervical disc lesions.

Possible symptoms that occur with an earache include:

  • Facial pain
  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches and pains)
  • General ill feeling (malaise)
  • Hearing unusual sounds or decreased hearing
  • Itching in the ear
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pain behind the ear
  • Popping or clicking sound while chewing or yawning
  • Pulling or rubbing the ear in infants and toddlers
  • Tooth pain