Q:

What causes ear pain aside from infections?

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Quick Answer

Common noninfectious causes of ear pain include pressure-related ear injury, earwax buildup and a foreign object trapped in the ear. Other relatively rare causes of earache include a perforated eardrum, arthritis of the jaw, temporomanibular joint disorders and trigeminal neuralgia, notes Healthline. Ear pain can also originate from other parts of the body, such as the jaw, teeth or throat, causing referred ear pain, states MedlinePlus.

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Ear pain or discomort caused by pressure differences between the inner and outer sides of the ear drum is known as ear barotrauma. It commonly results from pressure changes experienced during activities such as flying on a plane, scuba diving or driving up a mountain, explains MedlinePlus. Some ways of preventing ear barotrauma include swallowing or chewing gum as a plane prepares to land and making slow descents and ascents when scuba diving.

Complex nerve connections in the body make it difficult to determine the origin of referred ear pain. However, possible causes include dental problems, cervical spine arthritis, and neck and throat problems, notes the California Ear Institute. Temporomandibular joint disorders affect the joint and muscles connecting the lower jaw to the skull, while trigeminal neuralgia is intense pain emanating from the nerve responsible for perception of facial sensations. These two conditions can cause referred ear pain, notes Healthline.

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