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Ear Pain ( Otalgia )

Otalgia may be primary, with the source being the ear or it may be secondary, referred to the ear with or without signs or symptoms of the primary source of the pain. In 50% or more of patients who complain of otalgia, the pain emanates from a source other than the ear.

Primary Causes of Ear Pain:

  • Otitis externa (bacterial or fungal)
  • Myringitis ( Tympanic membrane infection)
  • Wax impaction
  • Foreign body in the ear canal
  • Perichondritis or chondritis of the auricle ( Pinna Infection )
  • Carbuncle or furuncle ( Boil )
  • Frostbite or burn of pinna
  • Trauma to the external canal
  • Traumatic perforation of the tympanic membrane
  • Herpes simplex virus infection
  • Herpes zoster oticus
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Eustachian tube obstruction
  • Otitis media and mastoiditis, which may be complicated
  • Venous sinus thrombosis
  • Brain abscess
  • External canal, middle ear, or skull base neoplasms including metastatic disease

Cause for Referred Pain in Ear:

Orofacial region:

  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Exposed tooth root surfaces
  • Periodontal infection (superficial or deep)
  • Unerupted or impacted teeth
  • Traumatic occlusion
  • Ill-fitting dental appliance
  • Recent adjustment of arch wires (orthodontic therapy)
  • Primary or recurrent herpes simplex virus infection
  • Acute herpes zoster
  • Mucocutaneous disorders (i.e., lichen planus)
  • Geographic tongue
  • Burning mouth or burning tongue
  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal infections
  • Parotid gland infection


  • Inflammatory disorder involving the hypo-oro-nasopharynx
  • Tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscess
  • Posttonsillectomy pain
  • Eagle syndrome

Larynx and esophagus:

  • Laryngitis
  • Perichondritis or chondritis
  • Arthritis of cricoarytenoid joint
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Infection or foreign body in esophagus

Other sources:

  • Traction or inflammation involving cerebrovascular blood supply (carotidynia)
  • Thyroiditis
  • Angina

Neurologic Disorders

  • Continuous neuropathic pain
  • Episodic neuropathic (neuralgic) pain
    – Trigeminal neuralgia
    – Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
    – Nervus intermedius (geniculate) neuralgia
    – Occipital neuralgia
    – Vagal and superior laryngeal neuralgia


  • Primary headache disorders
    – Tension-type headache now including cervical myalgia
    – Chronic paroxysmal hemicranias
    – Giant cell arteritis (Temporal arteritis)
  • Secondary headache disorders
    Headache or facial pain attributed to disorders of cranium,
    neck, eyes, ears, nose, sinuses, teeth, mouth, or
    other facial or cranial structures

Neoplastic Disease

  • Carcinoma, sarcomas (including Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas), and metastatic disease
  • Due wide and vast causes of ear pain, patients should not treat ear pain themselves at home. Kindly visit your doctor to find the cause of pain, to get targeted treatment for the pain.

Happy Patients


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  • Dr. Neetu really cares for her patients & this clearly shows. My experience with her has been very good. She is very patient, clearly explains the treatment & answers any queries regarding it. Thank you for the services.

    S. Kiran

  • Dr Neetu Modgil was excellent. Thorough, kind and patient, she did an excellent job. I will be requesting her services for my next appointment.

    Chandu Reddy

  • She is a blessing to this profession . So humble and approachable. she operated my ear , when every doctor i visited said no to me saying the risk of surgery is more . But she not only took risk...

    Ipshita Purohit

  • In my life i have met number of great doctor , but the way she talks , listens and convince the patient that is very rare and incredible , Very much experience ,humble doctor , highly recommended for any ENT...

    Rahul Yadav

  • It was good experience with doctor Neethu the way she treated me, felt like she treated me like her kid, Listens to our problems patiently,Her analysis and diagnosis was good.Clinic's ambience was quite good as well. I'd recommend her.

    Vijay Panwar

  • Visited for Ear wax. Explained well to me. removed my ear wax very well. Dr. is Very friendly with me.

    Aman Singh Mehta

  • She listen to my problem very attentively and prescribed medicine to take care of my problem. Besides being a good doctor she’s a wonderful human being too.

    Neha Nagar

  • I went for throat infection and clicking sound. She was very patient to hear my issue. Then did her examination and explained me the issue. She don't writes unnecessary tests and give minimum and required medication. I wish to have...

    Vinit Pandey

  • she is a friendly doctor and explained the disease very well. She had helped me out in my difficult times. Am very thankful yo her. Would like to recommend her to others.

    Ms. Atreyee Pal

  • I am obliged for everything doctor has done for me from day one. I am absolutely fine three months post surgery. I had many doubts before surgery but now as I m going well , I am happy and content.