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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Pain behind right ear

12/03/2009

Question:

Last week I came down with what I assume to be a routine sinus infection/head cold that I treated with time and chicken noodle soup and the usual over-the-counter symptom relief. I`m now on the mend, though a little congestion lingers. However, starting yesterday I`ve noticed a tenderness behind my right ear. It`s located exactly on the right bump that everyone has at the base of the skull. It doesn`t feel swollen or anything, but it`s tender like a bruise, even though I don`t think I hit my head on anything. Could this be related to my cold/sinus problem? Is there a gland or something back there that could be flaring up as part of the infection? Is it anything to worry about?

Answer:

It could be related to a cold. If it does not improve, please see an otolaryngologist. You will need a thorough examination and an audiogram (hearing test). Rarely, these infections can proceed to a mastoiditis, which can be a serious problem.

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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