What is the cause of my ear pain?

The Common Causes of Ear Pain

People of all ages can suffer from ear pain. For some, the causes of ear pain involve an infection or an underlying condition. Earaches can strike at any time and can leave you in unbearable pain. To properly treat ear pain, it’s crucial to identify the leading cause.  

The most common causes of ear pain are:


Even though earwax is normal, it can cause some problems. Your ear is supposed to get rid of earwax naturally, but sometimes it can build up. When earwax begins to build up in your ear, it can harden and lead to a blocked ear canal. This is called impacted wax which can be painful. If you’re suffering from impacted wax, your ear may feel itchy and swollen. If untreated, an infection may form, which can cause more discomfort. 

Air Pressure:

Heading out on vacation sounds like a good time, but the flight could cause pain in your ears. As the flight takes off, the quick change in air pressure can cause your ears to pop. This is because the eustachian tube cannot quickly regulate the air pressure in your ears. This can sometimes cause a painful sensation in the ear and lead to trouble hearing. 

Swimmer’s Ear:

Swimmer’s ear is caused when water gets trapped in your ear canal. The trapped moisture can form germs in an itchy and swollen ear. If you have a swimmer’s ear, you may begin to experience pain and notice pus leaking out your ear.

Middle Ear Infection:

Middle ear infection is the most common cause of ear pain. This condition occurs after a cold or sinus infection causes the tubes in your middle ears to become blocked. When fluid builds up, it can lead to an infection and other bacteria forming. 


Often the pain in your ear isn’t caused by an infection in your ears. Things like toothache might be the root cause of your discomfort. If you have a tooth that is infected or decayed, the problem can radiate from the jaw to the ear due to the proximity of the jaw joint (temporomandibular) to the ear.

Can you treat ear pain at home?

Depending on the causes of ear pain, you can treat it easily at home with over-the-counter pain relievers and ear drops. 

Ear pain caused by earwax can be treated with eardrops to soften the wax. If the issue persists, a doctor can remove earwax without damaging the eardrum. 

Ear pain caused by air pressure can be avoided by chewing gum while traveling.

Swimmer’s ear and middle ear infections can be treated with antibiotics. You can also avoid swimmer’s ear by keeping your ears dry while swimming. 

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you or your child are dealing with earaches, you don’t need to see a doctor immediately. You should only contact a doctor if the earaches occur alongside a high fever, swelling, and weakness in the facial muscles. 

Suffering From Ear Pain? Breathe Clear Institute Can Help Determine Why

If you’re suffering from frequent earaches, it’s essential to seek treatment to avoid long-term damage or complications. Schedule an appointment with our specialists to get immediate relief from ear pain.