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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Ear pain

10/14/2009

Question:

I have been experiencing severe ear pain. It seems to come from no where. The inside of my ear starts to burn and then and then the pain radiates outwards. Touching the outside of the ear (the back, next to my head) is painful. If I touch the ear, it aggrevates the ear more. Now it seems that when I turn my head, i get a light-headed feeling.

I went to the doctor for this previously (about 6 months ago) and he said the inside of the ear looked fine-no infection. He gave me antibiotics incase it was mastioditis, but he really didn`t think it was. Since then, the pain has been very infrequent, if at all; until the last couple of days when it has been severe.

Answer:

I recommend that you see an otolaryngologist. You need a hearing test and a detailed examination. You may have an infection, but other conditions such as an autoimmune disorder or TMJ dysfunction are also possible. Rarely, severe ear pain can be due to a cancer of the head and neck (especially in smokers).

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Response by:

Ravi N Samy, MD, FACS Ravi N Samy, MD, FACS
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Skull Base Surgery Fellowship, Director of Adults Cochlear Implantation Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati