Sound Health Services

Why Do My Ears Hurt When I Swallow?

Ear Pain and ENT CausesIf you have ear pain when swallowing, it can make eating, drinking, and talking very difficult. Often when patients complain that their ears hurt when they swallow, it’s due to a nose, throat or ear infection. Find out what could be causing your discomfort so you can get relief.
 
 
 
 

How a Nose or Throat Infection Can Cause Ear Pain When Swallowing

When germs enter your nose and throat, small pads of immune tissue in the back of the nasal passage called adenoids grow larger to keep you from getting sick. Sometimes, especially in children, adenoids grow so large that they block the eustachian tube which connects the middle ear to the upper throat, leading to a painful ear infection. If adenoid problems lead to ear infections often, your doctor may recommend removing the adenoids.

Another possible cause for your ear pain when swallowing could be from tonsillitis. The tonsils, located in the back of your throat, have the important job of trapping germs but sometimes become infected themselves. When this happens, they become red and swollen and can cause a severe sore throat, fever, and ear pain. Tonsillitis can be viral or bacterial, so see your doctor to discuss whether antibiotics are necessary. If left untreated, tonsillitis can lead to a peritonsillar abscess, a painful pustular growth that may require surgical removal.
 

How an Ear Infection Can Cause Pain When Swallowing

Ear infections can develop when you have a virus, a sinus infection, or allergies. While the eustachian tubes normally drain fluid from the ears, these tubes can become clogged and cause fluid to build up in the ears, leading to ear pain and pressure. When you yawn, sneeze or swallow, the tubes open up to relieve that pressure, which can be painful. Call your ENT doctor if you experience ear pain for a week along with a fever or drainage from the ear.
 

Other Possible Reasons for Your Ear Pain

Ear pain when swallowing can sometimes be a result of a jaw or dental problem.

In temporomandibular joint dysfunction, the jaw bone becomes misaligned with the skull, resulting in ear pain as well as discomfort when chewing and swallowing. This problem can happen from grinding teeth or clenching the jaw, so your doctor or dentist may advise you on ways to stop.

You may also feel pain in the ear if you have a dental abscess, a bacterial infection in the teeth and gums. A dentist can remove the abscess to prevent further infection.
 

A Sound Health Doctor Can Determine Why Your Ear Hurts When You Swallow

If you’ve been experiencing pain in your ear when swallowing and can’t figure out why, call Sound Health to make an appointment to see an ENT Doctor. Our skilled physicians will discuss your symptoms and perform a thorough examination to offer a solution to your discomfort. Call our office at (314) 729-0077 in MO or (618) 235-3687 in IL.