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What are the Common Causes of Throat and Ear Pain?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Sore throat and ear pain are often connected to each other and may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Other causes of these issues include allergies, drinking too much alcohol, infections of the teeth, or a uvula infection. Issues with the sinuses also can cause problems between the throat, nose, and ear. Severe problems can also be a sign of head or neck cancer.

The throat and ears are located closely beside each other, so many times a problem with one of these areas will cause problems in the other. A bacterial or viral infection that occurs in the throat or ear can cause sore throat and ear pain and the development of the same infection in the other area. Often, one side of the throat can be infected and cause the ear on the same side to become infected as well, while the other side the throat and the other ear remain untouched.

Symptoms of throat pain and ear pain often include a fever, trouble swallowing, excess phlegm, swollen lymph nodes, and a red, scratchy throat. A person may also lose his appetite when he has a sore throat. Some of these symptoms may require medical attention, especially if they last for more than just a few days. Home remedies can be used to treat mild symptoms, but severe problems may require the use of prescription antibiotics.

Sore throat and ear pain often occur for reasons other than a regular bacterial or viral infection. Tooth infections and uvula infections, for instance, can cause irritation in the ears and throat. Allergies and hay fever can cause stuffiness to occur in the nose and because of the close relationship between the ear, nose, and throat, fluids can be exchanged between the three and cause problems.

Drinking too much alcohol, eating food that is too hot or too cold, and using the vocal chords too much can cause a person to have a sore throat. This can then affect the tube that runs from the throat to the ear, causing it to swell. The swelling puts excess pressure on the inner part of the ear, resulting in an earache.

At times, cancer of the head or neck can be responsible for the development of a sore throat and ear pain. Many times, these symptoms are persistent and do not go away with the use of home remedies or antibiotics. Other symptoms may be present as well, including swollen glands, rash on the gums, trouble hearing, and trouble breathing.

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Discussion Comments

By anon993057 — On Oct 20, 2015

Yes, I am currently struggling with a sore throat but only on the right side. Woke up the next morning with a clear swelling surrounding my uvula, along with my right ear aching and neck pain from the exterior but only on the right side.

I've had minor surgery several times where my mouth could barely open, so this is somewhat similar. I thought I'd check to see if there was pus hiding behind my tonsil and although a very little yellowish stuff did seep out (I used qtips and a mini flash light) I am now able to open my mouth without pain, but feel slight discomfort in my neck and my uvula is still swollen. The ear ache is slowly disappearing.

By anon991427 — On Jun 19, 2015

I had my throat pain for more than three weeks. I've been to the hospital twice and they told me it's allergies. My throat hurts when I swallow and my ear, too. I tried everything they told me and nothing works.

By anon346580 — On Aug 29, 2013

Over the past four days, first it was my left ear. It started to feel slightly clogged, then my nose started to feel very stuffy. Then my throat started to sting and I've had trouble swallowing. The other night I woke up about 2:30 a.m. because my right ear started to feel like there was something inside stabbing at it. I took ibuprofen and it helped to calm it down, but as of this moment both of my ears are clogged and they hurt, my throat hurts and I'm having trouble swallowing, I am all stuffy and I don't feel like doing anything. I can't eat a lot. I can't stand swallowing water. I've sucked on ice cubes and it done nothing. I can't stand this. What can I do to stop this?

By anon318288 — On Feb 06, 2013

The white bumps with pain when you swallow is tonsillitis and an ear infection can then follow this!

By seag47 — On Aug 08, 2012

I usually have ear pain whenever I have a throat infection due to a cold. It seems that all my sinuses are filled with mucus, and it just travels around between my ears, nose, and throat.

I hate feeling like my ears are clogged with mucus. I stick cotton swabs in there to try to clean them out, but this almost never works. I guess the mucus is too far back in the canal for me to reach.

By OeKc05 — On Aug 08, 2012

Singing too much can cause a sore throat with ear pain. I had to sing for hours every day while I was recording my first CD, and my sore throat forced me to take a break.

I had developed white bumps on the back of my throat, and whenever I swallowed, these spots felt really dry and rough. I had soreness inside of my ear, as well.

By shell4life — On Aug 07, 2012

@StarJo – I have problems with allergies, too, and mine usually lead to sinus infections. My nose gets clogged with dried mucus, and sometimes, I have ear and throat pain on just one side.

The weird thing is that when I blow the left side of my nose, pain and fluid shoot through my left ear. This can make it harder to hear out of that ear for awhile.

I always knew they were connected, but knowing that doesn't make the sensation any less strange. Blowing your nose and having your ear respond just doesn't feel normal!

By StarJo — On Aug 06, 2012

I have severe allergies during the spring and summer, and my throat often becomes really scratchy when I am exposed to a lot of pollen. My nose gets stuffy, and my ear seems to share that same stuffiness.

It is weird how I have ear and throat pain on one side, but the other side is okay. Both sides of my nose are affected, though.

One time, I got a white lump on one side of my throat, and the corresponding ear hurt like crazy. It went away when my allergies subsided in a few days after a good rain, and I never knew what caused it.

By anon156909 — On Feb 28, 2011

How can the inner ear pain be cured?

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