Pain in the area of ​​access to the ear is referred to in the medical jargon as otalgia and indicate in most cases on a disease of the ear. One distinguishes between primary and secondary earache.
These are the primary earache, those that go directly from the ear, while the secondary pain can radiate from other nerves in the region of the ear.


Since the ear is a very fine and sensitive organ with numerous nerves that transmit pain, complaints in this area are often very unpleasant.
If the pain in the ear canal entrance arises due to inflammation, further symptoms appear like swelling, redness and overheating of the ear.
Depending on the cause of the inflammation, various skin symptoms may continue to occur. The skin in the entrance of the ear can be next to a redness very dry, stupid and also stained discolored.

In a progressive necrotizing inflammation, the tissue dies increasingly and accordingly, the skin turns black.

Other complaints may be itching, discharge, pus and also pressure on the ear.
If the ear canal is much misplaced or the external inflammation spreads to deeper regions of the ear, it may also lead to a reduced hearing.


Pain in the entrance of the ear can be triggered by many different causes.
One possibility is obvious injuries such as bruises, cuts and abrasions. They may have arisen in the context of accidents.

One of the most common causes, however, is the inflammation of the external ear canal, which can spread to the entrance of the ear. In ear, nose and throat medicine, the inflammation of the external auditory canal is referred to as otitis externa . It can be associated with a severe cold or other factors.

It is also subdivided into different forms depending on its cause.
Thus, there are the phlegmon in the ear canal (external otitis diffuse) or a boil (otitis externa circumscripta) .
Furthermore, there is still a very strong form of inflammation, in which the skin in the ear canal increasingly begins to die off ( necrotize ).
Inflammation in the ear canal adjacent to the pinna can be triggered by fine skin injuries. Not infrequently, foreign body injuries are caused by cotton swabs. Even small cracks and lesions in the skin are at risk of being contaminated by bacteria.

In addition to a bacterial infection, allergies or other skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis or even autoimmune diseases can lead to diseases in the ear, which are accompanied by pain in the ear canal entrance.

Also, a herpes zoster can develop in the ear and cause a strong inflammation with pain.
Other possible causes include tumors that spread further and further from the inner ear.

The above-mentioned triggers for pain in the ear are primary causes that emanate directly from the ear.

Secondary causes can be transmitted from other areas of the head via appropriate nerve fibers to the ear and lead to pain.
One of the most common causes is a dental treatment. Tooth inflammation or the drawing of a tooth can irritate nerves from the surrounding area so much that pain is transmitted to the ear.

The situation is similar with other infectious diseases such as tonsillitis ( tonsillitis ) or mumps and measles. In the latter, the parotid glands swell and can hurt and also affect the ear.


If you have problems with the ear, the patient should consult an ear, nose and throat specialist. After a medical history in which the patient describes his symptoms, the doctor will first look at the ear.
He first looks at the auricle and finally the auditory canal. With a corresponding small lamp and a kind of magnifying glass, he can look down to the eardrum.

In case of inflammation in the auditory canal, this examination can be easily painful and especially in children an examination is difficult because they are often afraid of doctors.
Since inflammation can well be caused by various bacteria, the doctor has the opportunity to specifically identify these germs. For this he takes a swab with a cotton swab from the inflamed skin or pus or discharge.

In many cases, a pathogen detection determines the subsequent treatment. If the ear is so inflamed that a hearing loss has occurred, in some cases even a hearing test is done. This can also be delimited from which parts of the ear the complaints go out.
Thus, a distinction between internal or external auditory canal inflammation can be made.


Depending on the cause, appropriate treatment is initiated by a specialist. In many mild cases, the ear pain disappears by itself after a few days. This can be the case with a cold.
However, if it is a stronger bacterial infection, it may well be necessary for the patient to take an antibiotic for several days so that the inflammation does not progress further and heal better.
In some cases and depending on the doctor, the administration of the antibiotic depends on the pathogen detected. Antibiotics are most taken orally, but there are also some ear drops that contain antibiotics.

In addition, analgesics such as ibuprofen can be taken for severe pain. Furthermore, in the case of inflamed, dry and itchy skin, appropriate ointments or ear drops containing antibiotics may be administered. In rare cases, such as necrotizing inflammation, surgery to eradicate inflamed skin may be indicated.

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