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Tinnitus With Ear Pain, Ear Infection, And Other Possible Conditions

Some sufferers of ringing ears report buzzing, roaring, chirping in one ear or in both ears as their only symptom.

Others are plagued with ear ringing in addition to ear pain, ear fullness, or other symptoms.

How do you distinguish and then treat these conditions differently? This is the crucial question that stumps healthcare professionals all over the world. The question of determining the appropriate diagnosis and finding the best treatment.

So without any more wondering, let’s get to the heart of the matter. If your ear ringing symptoms come with ear pain, ear fullness, and vertigo (spinning sensation), you may have something else going on in addition to tinnitus.

Here are some of my thoughts based on my patients. However, please do see a doctor or healthcare professional to get a formal diagnosis.

When ringing ears go hand in hand with ear pain or other symptoms, the diagnosis could be:

Impaction of Cerumen

What does this mean?
Put simply, this is too much ear wax built up in the ear. The cerumen or ear wax builds up and blocks the ear canal.

You may also feel a fullness in the ears and vertigo or dizziness, and of course, ringing in the ears.

What do I do?
You can dissolve the ear wax by using certain solutions. These solutions include hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, or baby oil.

You can also use drops from the pharmacy that are meant to break apart the cerumen. Use a small dropper to deliver the drops.

After the wax is softened, a syringe can be used to wash out the ear canal with water or a saline solution.

If neither of these methods work, a doctor can use special equipment to remove the ear wax.

Otitis Media

What does this mean?
This is an ear infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is the section after the ear drum but before the inner ear.

Ear infections can occur together with ear ringing, dizziness, and nausea.

What do I do?
You should take antibiotic medication to get rid of an ear infection. See your doctor to get a diagnosis and prescription.

Barotitis Media

What does this mean?
This is middle ear damage due to changes in pressure. Build-up of air occurs because the eustachian tube is blocked.

Patients with barotitis media may also experience bleeding from the nose or ear and difficulty turning the face in addition to ear ringing and ear pain.

What do I do?
You can see your doctor for medication to reduce the pain and swelling that can occur.

Surgery may also be an option if you have damage to the ear drum or if a hole is needed in your eardrum to decrease pressure.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

What does this mean?

The joint that connects your jaw to your skull, right under your ears is the area that will be tender or painful.

Some surrounding muscles, such as those used to chew or open/close your mouth, can be painful as well.

The temporomandibular joint or surrounding areas typically get damaged due to impact, the joint slipping out of place, or arthritis impacting that area of your face.

You may also experience ringing in your ears and ear pain.

What do I do?
In addition to medication that relieves pain and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the jaw, there is one at-home treatment that exists for TMJ.

A mouthpiece-like device called a mouthguard can be worn over the teeth to reduce any extraneous motion around the painful area.

This device can especially be helpful during sleep to keep you from grinding your teeth and exacerbating your jaw pain.


What does this mean?
This is an inner ear disorder that is caused from a swollen labyrinth.

The labyrinth is a structure related to balance, hence the symptoms are dizziness (specifically spinning motions), ear pain, and ringing ears.

Labrynthitis is typically caused by an infection, more likely a viral one.

What do I do?
See a doctor for medications that will help clear up the problem such as an antihistamine or anti-nausea drug.

If you want to try an at-home treatment, a set of exercises can be done to reduce the symptoms.

You will need a bed, and that’s it!
1) Sit down at the center of the bed with your legs planted firmly on the floor.
2) Turn your head 45 degrees to the right.
3) Keep your head in that position and allow your body to fall to the left so that your whole left side touches the bed. Hold this for 30 seconds.
4) Now, repeat this procedure but turn your head to the left 45 degrees and let your body fall over so that the whole right side touches the bed.
5) Repeat 10 times per side.

Acoustic Neuroma

What does this mean?
Acoustic neuroma is the development of noncancerous tumors along your acoustic nerve that runs from your ear to your brain.

Due to the location of the tumors, the symptoms are typically ear pain, ear ringing, and hearing loss. Dizziness and unsteadiness on one’s feet are other common signs.

What do I do?
Your doctor will likely perform surgery to treat this condition. This may be radiation that is done without an incision or removal of the tumors which is done through an incision.

Sometimes, the tumors are monitored with the “wait and see” approach. Because the development of the tumors tends to be slow, your doctor may choose not to operate and instead closely monitor the progress and growth of the tumors.

Eventually, invasive surgery may be a necessity.


What does this mean?
Cholesteatoma is a noncancerous abnormal growth of skin cells in the inner ear.

These growths impact the structures in the ear and lead to a host of symptoms including ear pain, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and vertigo/dizziness.

Sometimes, discharge is present in the ear, which can be a key factor in diagnosis of cholesteatoma.

Growths typically occur due to the ear drum or the eustachian tube not working properly.

What do I do?
The most common treatment for cholesteatoma is surgery to remove the growths.

As with any surgery, your doctor will diagnose and advise you on your best course of action.

Meniere’s Disease

What does this mean?
The critical diagnostic factor in Meniere’s disease is that you may experience ringing in one ear.

In addition, there is usually vertigo and dizziness, hearing loss that changes frequently, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

Meniere’s disease occurs due to atypical volume or make-up of the fluid in the inner ear.

What do I do?
Various medications are the most common treatment for Meniere’s disease. Your doctor may prescribe medication for nausea, motion sickness, diuretics (to reduce fluids in the body and subsequently in the inner ear), and steroids/antibiotics injected in the ear.

Other than medication, lifestyle changes are an effective natural remedy that may not directly cure Meniere’s but will help reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

These lifestyle changes include reducing salt intake, following a regular eating schedule, increasing rest throughout your day, reducing caffeine, quitting smoking, decreasing stress, and reducing allergies and migraines through medication.

You and your doctor may also consider surgical methods to treat Meniere’s disease.

Your doctor may talk to you about noninvasive methods that treat the symptoms, such as using a hearing aid or vestibular rehabilitation therapy to work on balance.

Cancers of the Facial Area

What does this mean?
There is a multitude of cancer types that can occur in the ear, nose, throat, or brain region.

However, these can be distinguished from other, less life threatening disorders because cancers typically come with more significant symptoms.

These symptoms include: facial numbness or weakness, severe headaches, lumps in the neck, a hoarse vocal quality, and difficulty swallowing in addition to ear ringing and ear pain.

Additionally, if you are a regular tobacco and alcohol user, you are significantly more likely to have cancer in the ear, nose, and mouth area.

What do I do?
Surgery or radiation therapy will be the most common options for treatment.But what can you do at home right away?

Stop drinking and smoking. I know, easier said than done. But really, drinking and smoking have so many detrimental effects on your body and mind.

And of course, go see your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.

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7 Responses to “Tinnitus With Ear Pain, Ear Infection, And Other Possible Conditions”

  1. Hosting says:

    Some instances of tinnitus are caused by infections or blockages in the ear, and the tinnitus can disappear once the underlying cause is treated. Frequently, however, tinnitus continues after the underlying condition is treated. In such a case, other therapies — both conventional and alternative — may bring significant relief by either decreasing or covering up the unwanted sound.

  2. Health Tips says:

    I’ve suffered from Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder many times. Sometimes it arrived from driving with the window open and the air getting into my right ear. Other times I can pinpoint it to stress. The pain was chronic so much so that I could barely speak but thankfully, lying in a dark room and totally relaxing, always cleared it for me.

    However, what works for one, doesn’t work for all. My daughter has a shelve full of medical products and they certainly work for her. 🙂

    • Ada Berezina says:

      Thank you for commenting! TMJ sounds awful and I’ve heard of many people suffering from it. I’m glad that relaxing has helped you! Seems that is a good solutions for many problems in life. I agree with you – if you find something that works then keep at it!

  3. Adenike says:

    Is there any relationship between sinuses and hearing loss and what do you suggest as the treatment for temporary hearing loss.

  4. 6 says:

    Is there cure for paulsating tinnitus

  5. Ron Robles says:

    Is there atually cure for pulsating tinnitus does it have anything to do with your diet I don’t see to see a change in it

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