Any one of 77 different conditions, including ear canal infection, sleep apnea or post-concussive syndrome may cause a shooting pain in the ear or head, according to WebMD. Other possible conditions include acute stress reaction or excessive caffeine use.
Ear canal infection typically causes pain in the ears and is often accompanied by difficulty hearing and ear drainage, notes WebMD. Those who suffer from sleep apnea have trouble breathing while they sleep, stopping and starting multiple times each night. These individuals may experience ear pain and head pain as well. Individuals with post-concussive syndrome feel the effects of a concussion, which may include ear or head pain, after the initial trauma occurs.
Additional symptoms of acute stress reaction include anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness and a sense of doom, according to WebMD. Individuals who intake an excessive level of caffeine may also feel ear or head pain in conjunction with irritability, difficulty sleeping, depression, fatigue or anger. Caffeine withdrawal may also cause similar effects, including head or ear pain.
More serious conditions that are associated with ear or head pain include thyroid cancer and typhoid fever, warns WebMD. Thyroid cancer typically manifests with hoarseness, a cough and a lump in the neck. Typhoid fever causes headaches, fever and weakness before becoming fatal.