A person with ear pain feels discomfort in the outer, middle, or inner ear. Ear pain may be caused by an ear injury, inflammation, or infection. The most common cause of ear pain is an ear infection, such as otitis media or otitis externa. Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear, while otitis externa is an infection of the ear canal.
Injury, infection, irritation in the ear, or referred pain may cause earaches.
Common causes of earaches and ear pain include:
Change in pressure (such as when flying on a plane)
A foreign object in the ear
Shampoo or water trapped in the ear
Use of cotton swabs in the ear
Less common causes of earaches include:
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
Arthritis affecting the jaw
Braces on teeth
Eczema in the ear canal
Trigeminal neuralgia (chronic facial nerve pain)