The person also noted that on occasion, the right side headache would cause her right ear to throb.
The person said her headache would increase in severity and frequency. On occasion, she’d have a headache for about 15 minutes, and then her ear would be throbbing.
The person said it felt like she had a migraine.
The person said that when the headache was coming on, she’d have to “squeeze her head” to prevent the pain from spreading.
She said that she’d been to the doctor and that he had “told me to keep taking the medication, but the pain would be there.”
The person also said she was having trouble sleeping.
Headache and ear pain
A person may have pain or tenderness in the ear or in their head.
People may have these symptoms if they have an ear infection.
Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria. Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Ear pain or pressure
- Drainage from the ear
Nausea or vomiting can occur if the infection is severe.
Other symptoms of an ear infection may include:
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- A feeling of pressure in the ear
- Ear discharge
- A feeling of heat in the ear
- A feeling that something is stuck in the ear
- Discharge from the ear
A person should see a doctor if they have a fever, frequent ear infections, trouble hearing, or an earache that doesn’t get better after using pain medication.
Numbness in the ear
A person may have numbness in the ear if they have a middle-ear infection.
Middle-ear infections are usually caused by bacteria. Symptoms of a middle-ear infection include:
- Ear pain
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
Middle-ear infections can be caused by:
- Viruses, such as the common cold
- Bacteria, such as the croup
- Earwax blocks
- Foreign objects in the ear
- Injury to the ear
If a foreign object, such as a pin, is stuck in the ear, it can cause the ear to stop moving. If this occurs, the ear may become numb.
Earwax block may be caused by:
- Earwax not draining properly
- A foreign object stuck in the ear
- Ear infection
- An ear injury
- A buildup of earwax
An injury to the ear can cause numbness or tingling in the ear. The person may also have:
- Pain in the ear
- Difficulty hearing
- Throbbing pain in the ear
Foreign object in the ear
A foreign object, such as a pin, can cause numbness in the ear.
Ear trauma can cause a person to have ear numbness.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that ear trauma can be caused by:
- Vehicle accidents
- Heavy lifting
- Falling on the head
- Falling from a height
- A blow to the head
- A blow to the ear
- A blow to the face
Ear infections and trauma can also cause the ear to stop moving.
To diagnose an ear infection, a doctor will examine the outer ear, the inside of the ear, and the ear canal. They may also use a stethoscope to listen for a scratch or other abnormal sound.
If a doctor suspects that an ear infection is causing the person to have ear numbness, they may order an MRI scan. This will help them see the inner ear and the nerve connections in the ear.
They may also order a CT scan, which uses X-rays to produce images of the body. The images may show any damage to the brain or spinal cord, which may be caused by an ear infection.
If an ear infection is causing a person to experience hearing loss, the doctor may order an audiogram. This test will determine the type of hearing loss.
When to see a doctor?
If a person has ear numbness, they should see a doctor.
A person should see a doctor for:
- A sudden, severe headache
- A headache that occurs on one side of the head
- Headache that occurs on one side of the face
- Headache that occurs on both sides of the head
- Pain in the head that lasts more than 15 minutes and doesn’t go away
- Pain that comes on suddenly
- Pain that gets worse with movement
- Hearing loss that doesn’t improve after taking pain medication
- Numbness in the ear that lasts more than six weeks
- A fever that hasn’t gone away after taking pain medication
- A sore throat that lasts more than three days
- Trouble hearing
A person should also see a doctor if they’re experiencing:
- Pain that is severe, lasts more than 30 minutes, or doesn’t go away after the person uses pain medication
- A fever that doesn’t go away after the person takes pain medication
- Hearing loss that isn’t improving
- Numbness in the ear that is not caused by an ear infection
- Pain that worsens with physical activity
- A bad-smelling ear discharge
- Pain that gets worse when lying down
- Discharge from the ear that changes color
- Discharge from the ear that is green or yellow
They should also see a doctor if they have a middle-ear infection or a foreign object in the ear.
In some cases, numbness in the ear may be temporary.
As long as the person continues to use pain medication, the numbness should resolve.
If a person doesn’t use pain medication and their symptoms don’t resolve, they should seek medical attention. A doctor can prescribe pain medication to help with the symptoms.
Ear numbness is a symptom that can be caused by an ear infection, trauma, or a middle-ear infection.
See a doctor if the symptoms persist, or if a person experiences symptoms that are severe
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