Pain in Both Ear Canals Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your pain in both ear canals symptoms, including 4 causes and common questions.

This symptom can also be referred to as: pain in both inner ears

Pain In Both Ear Canals Symptom Checker

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Contents

  1. 4 Possible Pain In Both Ear Canals Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

4 Possible Pain In Both Ear Canals Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pain in both ear canals. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Middle ear infection

Middle ear infection, also called acute otitis media, is a bacterial or viral infection of the air-filled space behind the eardrum. An ear infection is usually secondary to a cold, allergy, or influenza.

Young children are most susceptible due to weaker immune systems and to the small size and shape of the Eustachian tubes in the ears. Children in group care settings are more exposed to colds and flu and therefore more prone to ear infections.

Symptoms include ear pain due to inflammation; drainage of fluid from the ear; and sometimes hearing difficulty. Children may cry, run a fever, and pull at the affected ear.

If symptoms last more than a day, a medical provider should be seen. Long-lasting or repeated ear infections can lead to hearing damage and to speech and learning problems.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Middle ear infections often clear up on their own and antibiotics may only be needed for infants and severe cases. Warm compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers can be used. Do not give aspirin to children.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, sore throat, new headache, fever, ear canal pain

Symptoms that always occur with middle ear infection: ear canal pain

Symptoms that never occur with middle ear infection: vertigo (extreme dizziness), face weakness, facial numbness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Swimmer's ear (otitis externa)

Swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is an infection of the canal which runs from the eardrum to the opening of the ear.

It is caused by anything that introduces bacteria, fungus, or a virus into the canal. Water that stays inside the ear after swimming is a common cause, as are cotton swabs used for cleaning or earpieces that create irritation.

Most susceptible are children, because they have narrower ear canals that do not drain well.

Early symptoms include redness, itching, and discomfort inside the ear canal, sometimes with drainage of clear fluid.

Even mild symptoms should be treated because they can quickly get worse. The infection can spread and intensify, becoming very painful with increased drainage, swelling, fever, and loss of hearing.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination of the ear canal. Lab tests may be done on a sample of the discharge from the ear.

Treatment includes having a medical provider clean the ear canal of debris and discharge, and a prescription for antibiotic and/or steroid eardrops.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fever, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, jaw pain, ear pain that gets worse when moving

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Pain In Both Ear Canals Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pain in both ear canals

Temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is often caused by a variety of factors, including daily habits, your teeth alignment, and even stress. It usually affects one side of the jaw, but in some people it can affect both sides. People with TMJ dysfunction will typically experience pain on one side of the face that is worse with chewing, yawning, or other movements of the jaw. With some simple changes in your daily habits and other at-home treatments, most people with TMJ dysfunction will experience relief of their symptoms within weeks.

Treatment for temporomandibular joint dysfunction usually includes avoiding eating hard foods or foods that require a lot of chewing. Good posture and relaxation techniques may help relieve tension in the muscles that connect to your temporomandibular joint. In people who clench or grind their teeth, a mouth guard worn at night (and fitted by your dentist) may also help relieve your symptoms. Pain relievers, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can also help.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dizziness, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, history of headaches, jaw pain, pain in the back of the neck

Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder: pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acute bacterial sinusitis

Acute bacterial sinusitis, also called bacterial rhinosinusitis or "sinus infection," has symptoms much like viral rhinosinusitis but a different treatment.

Any sinusitis usually begins with common cold viruses. Sometimes a secondary bacterial infection takes hold. Like cold viruses, these bacteria can be inhaled after an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Anyone with viral sinusitis, upper-respiratory allergy, nasal passage abnormality, lung illness, or a weakened immune system is more prone to bacterial sinusitis.

Symptoms include thick yellowish or greenish nasal discharge; one-sided pain in the upper jaw or teeth; one-sided sinus pain and pressure; fatigue; fever; and symptoms that get worse after first improving.

See a doctor right away for severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, or vision changes. These can indicate a medical emergency.

Diagnosis is made with a simple examination in the doctor's office.

Bacterial sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, but this is not always necessary. Often rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants are enough.

Prevention is done through good lifestyle and hygiene to keep the immune system strong.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, cough, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches

Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis: sinusitis symptoms

Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis: clear runny nose, being severely ill

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain In Both Ear Canals

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • What makes your ear hurt worse?
  • Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Have you noticed a change in your hearing?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pain in both ear canals. These questions are also covered.

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Pain In Both Ear Canals Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pain in both ear canals have also experienced:

  • 7% Sore Throat
  • 6% Headache
  • 3% Fatigue

People who have experienced pain in both ear canals were most often matched with:

  • 36% Middle Ear Infection
  • 36% Swimmer'S Ear (Otitis Externa)
  • 27% Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder

People who have experienced pain in both ear canals had symptoms persist for:

  • 43% Less than a week
  • 25% Less than a day
  • 13% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Pain In Both Ear Canals Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pain in both ear canals