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Understanding Sharp Ear Pain: Causes and Treatments for Intermittent Earache

by | Mar 25, 2023 | Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Ear pain is a common symptom that affects people of all ages. It can range from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting pain that comes and goes.

If you’re experiencing this kind of pain, it’s important to understand the causes and seek treatment if necessary.

In this article, we’ll outline the most common causes of sharp ear pain and highlight the best treatment options so you can get back to living a life unafflicted by it.

Causes of Sharp Ear Pain

Ear Infections: Ear infections are one of the most common causes of ear pain. They occur when bacteria or viruses infect the middle ear. Symptoms of an ear infection can include ear pain, fever, and fluid drainage from the ear.

Sinus Infections: Sinus infections can also cause ear pain. This is because the sinuses and ears are connected by a narrow tube called the Eustachian tube. When the sinuses become inflamed, they can block the Eustachian tube, causing ear pain and pressure.

Trauma: Trauma to the ear, such as a blow to the head or a punctured eardrum, can cause sharp ear pain. If you experience trauma to your ear, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Wax Buildup: A buildup of earwax can also cause ear pain. This is because the earwax can become impacted, putting pressure on the eardrum and causing pain. For more information on this topic, see: How to Solve Your Earwax Buildup.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ): TMJ is a condition that affects the jaw joint. It can cause ear pain, as well as headaches, jaw pain, and neck pain.

Treatments for Sharp Ear Pain

Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve ear pain. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions carefully.

Antibiotics: If your ear pain is caused by an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection.

Decongestants: If your ear pain is caused by a sinus infection, your doctor may recommend a decongestant to help reduce inflammation and open up the Eustachian tube.

Ear Drops: If your ear pain is caused by wax buildup, your doctor may recommend ear drops to help soften and remove the earwax.

TMJ Treatment: If your ear pain is caused by TMJ, your doctor may recommend treatment to help relieve the symptoms. This can include exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles, as well as medications to help reduce inflammation.

Preventing Sharp Ear Pain

Avoid Ear Trauma: To prevent ear trauma, be sure to wear appropriate protective gear when participating in sports or other activities.

Practice Good Ear Hygiene: To prevent ear infections, practice good ear hygiene. This includes keeping your ears clean and dry, avoiding the use of cotton swabs in your ears, and not sharing personal items, such as earbuds or headphones.

Manage Allergies: If you have allergies, be sure to manage them effectively. This can help reduce inflammation in the sinuses and prevent ear pain.

Avoid Loud Noises: Exposure to loud noises can cause ear damage and lead to ear pain. Be sure to wear ear protection when exposed to loud noises, such as concerts or construction sites.

: If you experience ear pain, it's important to seek prompt medical attention.

Seek Prompt Medical Attention: If you experience ear pain, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention. This can help prevent complications and ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment.

Ear Care Audiologists in Texas

It can be alarming and distressing to experience sudden pain in your ear. We understand how concerning this can be for you, and we want to assure you that you don’t have to face this alone.

We are here to help and support you every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our hearing professionals for further help or advice. We genuinely care about your ear health and want to make sure that you receive the best care possible.

Our patient resources are also available for further reading to help you understand the issue and the treatment options available.

You can contact us today at one of our four convenient locations: Audiological Services in Lufkin, TX; Central Texas Hearing Center in Lakeway and San Marcos, TX; or All About Hearing in Midland, TX. We are ready to listen, support, and guide you towards optimal ear health. Don’t wait—reach out to us today!

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Leah Guempel Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Leah Guempel received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders in 2007 and her doctorate from the University of Texas in 2010. While in graduate school, Dr. Guempel was named outstanding first year graduate student in Audiology and Sertoma outstanding graduate student in Audiology. During graduate school, Dr. Guempel had several clinical rotations she completed throughout Austin including rotations at Dell Children’s Hospital and an ENT practice. Dr. Guempel also had a rotation at Cook Hearing & Balance as a student clinician, and after completing her 4th year rotation there, worked as a Doctor of Audiology in the Austin and Cedar Park locations. Dr. Guempel became the audiologist at the Cook Hearing & Balance office in San Marcos when it opened September of 2011. In December of 2012, Dr. Guempel bought Cook Hearing & Balance in San Marcos and renamed it Central Texas Hearing Center. She then opened the Central Texas Hearing Center in Lakeway, Texas. Most recently she purchased Audiological Services in Lufkin, TX. Dr. Guempel is licensed to practice Audiology in the State of Texas. She is a Fellow of the American Academy (AAA) and holds a certificate of clinical competence in Audiology from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Dr. Guempel has a passion for hearing awareness. She enjoys her field of practice and hopes to inform and educate the community about the importance of early detection and the use of hearing protection. She is dedicated to helping those who suffer from hearing impairment. In her free time, Dr. Guempel enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and anything outdoors.