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eadinad's avatar

Anyone know what this pain in my ear is?

Asked by eadinad (1263 points ) March 18th, 2009

I have a dull, mild, constant pain in my right ear that is increased slightly when I swallow. It feels kind of like pressure.

I flew recently (5 days ago) so it might be related. Pain started about 3–4 days ago.

Should I go to the doctor or just wait it out?

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13 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

I have had lots of ear pain throughout my life so far. It’s generally pressure, caused by the eustachian tubes becoming clogged with mucus or inflamed (allergies, runny nose, lots of sneezing). Every doctor I’ve been to says there is no immediate relief, no way to easily unblock these. Don’t even bother popping your ear or shoving anything inside it, no waxes, nothing, it won’t reach it and often causes more damage.

The last time this happened I was given Advil Cold and Sinus, generic tylenol, and an antihistamine spray to dry things up a bit. It helped but did not alleviate the pain. The pain simply went away on its own after a few days.

With ear pain, I give it one week of being problematic before going and seeing a doctor. So if it still hurts on Friday, go and see a doctor would be my advise, but be prepared that there’s really nothing they can do. It’s just good to see a doctor so that they can rule out anything worse causing the ear pain.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@dynamicduo has it right…all of it. If you start having a headache that won’t go away, too…get to the doctor/clinic quicker as that’s a sure fire sign of a sinus infection.

Mr_M's avatar

From the first day the pain started until now, did the pain get worse every day? Less? Stays the same? If it gets worse every day, I would get it checked out before it becomes unbearable.

FrancisRude's avatar

I will see the doctor, it can be caused by alot of things, but the closest i can think of too is the eustacian tube being blocked..

I like this website, http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/507.html

laxrrockr18's avatar

ear infection

eadinad's avatar

@ Mr. M,

It’s stayed exactly the same every day.

Mr_M's avatar

And that’s dull and mild. If it were ME (and I’m not a doctor), I think I’d wait. Is it keeping you up at night? When you forget about it do you stop noticing? Did it hurt on the plane?

hearkat's avatar

Hello; I am an Audiologist.

Based on your description, it is unlikely that you have an ear infection. If that were the case, you’d be complaining of acute pain, significant decrease in hearing, and possibly fever, tinnitus, or dizziness.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction is the most probable cause, and as others have suggested, it might help to take an over-the-counter decongestant or if you have allergies, take your allergy medicine consistently for a while. Of course not all medications are safe for everyone, so be careful if you have any other medications or conditions that contraindicate taking decongestants or antihistamines.

You could try popping your ears via the ValSalva technique, by holding your nose and mouth closed and very gently blowing to force air pressure up into the middle ear space.

As long as it’s just a dull pain with little or no change in hearing, give it time. Often, when I get a cold and my ear hurts, I run a tympanogram on myself to measure the pressure in my ear. Usually I come up around -90 DaPa, and the range of normal goes from +50 to -150 DaPa. So even though my ear hurts, and there’s a noticeable change in hearing, it’s still normal. Then I berate myself for being a baby, because I see patients that are way worse all the time!

I hope this is helpful, and that you feel better soon!

Garebo's avatar

A burrowing earwig?

janbb's avatar

I ge t that all the time – when flying, with allergies, etc. I was also told it was my eustachian tubes closing up and I have not found anything that really helps. Sometimes it’s there and then it’s gone.

marinelife's avatar

Can you take sudafed? If so, it will help dry out your ear and sinuses. If the pain continues, see a doctor in case it is an infection.

eadinad's avatar

Thanks everyone for your responses. I’ll wait another few days and see what happens. I do forget about it when I don’t think about it, so.

jackfright's avatar

i was going to say “either your mother or your wife”

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