Earache is very common medical problem for both children and adults.

An earache may affect one or both of your ears. But most of the time, it’s unilateral. It may be constant or come and go, and the pain may be dull, sharp, or burning. If you have an ear infection, you may also get a fever, and temporary hearing loss may occur. Young children who have ear infections tend to be fussy and irritable. They may also tug or rub their ears.

The pain of earache results from inflammation and swelling of the structures that make up the ear, including the external auditory canal, the tympanic membrane, and the middle ear.

Earache can be a sharp, dull or burning ear pain that comes and goes or remains constant. One or both ears may be affected.




The eustachian tube runs from the middle part of each ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid that is made in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up.
This may lead to pressure behind the eardrum or an ear infection.
  • glue ear : a build-up of fluid deep inside the ear (behind the eardrum), which mainly affects children
  • an infection in the ear canal (outer side of the eardrum)
  • physical damage to the inside of the ear caused by a cotton bud, stick or similar
  • a plug of earwax or another object stuck inside the ear
  • ear injury from pressure changes (from high altitudes and other causes)

Referred pain from other anatomically related areas may cause earache:

  • arthritis of the jaw
  • temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • a throat infection, such as tonsillitis, may cause ear pain