At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
There are so many potential causes of head and ear pain that it is almost impossible to determine the reason without a medical examination. Common conditions that cause pain in both the ear and the area around it can range from headaches to dental problems. Often, the pain is caused by something mild such as an earache or a simple headache that may go away on its own or with the help of over-the-counter medications. High blood pressure, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, and even clenching the teeth together can cause this type of discomfort as well.
Mild head and ear pain are often caused by tension or sinus headaches. These headaches don't usually indicate a serious condition and may come and go in what seems like a random pattern. Sinus headaches typically affect the forehead and sinus areas. The sinuses, throat and ears are all connected, however, so ear pain from this type of headache is not uncommon. Tension headaches can be brought on by stress and fatigue, and over-the-counter pain relievers and rest will often get rid of this type of pain.
Migraine headaches are severe headaches that have a variety of causes and often require medical intervention. This type of headache has a different, sharper quality than tension or sinus headaches, and the pain can radiate down the face, neck, shoulders, and back. Any severe headache or pain in these areas should be examined by a medical professional to rule out other more serious causes of the discomfort.
Ear pain is most commonly caused by ear infection, ear wax that is hardening on the ear drum, or fluid trapped in the ear. Some earaches may go away on their own, while others require the ear to be flushed out to remove hardened wax. Ear infections typically require treatment with antibiotics. Anyone with long-lasting or severe ear pain should see a healthcare professional to rule out serious conditions. Ongoing ear infections can lead to hearing loss and other complications, so they should be treated properly.
Dental issues may even cause head and ear pain. A decayed tooth, such as one that needs a root canal, can cause a dull ache that extends up the side of the head, affecting the jaw, ear and temple. Tooth problems can also cause sharp and severe pain. More serious conditions that can cause pain include aneurysms, strokes, certain types of cancer and other diseases. These are usually rare, but a medical professional should be consulted to rule them out if the pain is severe or long-lasting.