Many patients come into my practice complaining of ear pain, when other physicians have found nothing wrong with their ears. The ear pain complaints heard most often are these:
• My ear feels full
• My ear feels stuffy
• I feel like something is dripping in my ear
• I feel pressure in my ear
• There is ringing in my ears
• I hear a hissing sound
• I hear a buzzing sound
More often than not, patients complaining of ear pain will see their general practitioner, internist, or an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor. But if there is no evidence of an infection, and there is no fluid or inflammation in the ear (or other problems with ear function) the ear pain could be happening because of a malfunction in the muscles of the face, jaw, or TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).
Because of the way our ears, face, and jaw develop inside the womb, the malfunction of one area can cause pain in the other. To figure out if your persistent ear pain is related to a muscular issue, pay close attention if the ear pain you’re experiencing:
• Increases when you eat
• Increases when you talk
• Increases when you open or close your mouth
• Is constant and intense
If these are the dominating symptoms, chances are the ear pain will not go away unless doctors can address the muscle and joints in the face that are causing it to begin with. Treatment that focuses specifically on the ear will not work if the ear pain is just a symptom of a different problem.
Dr. Donald Tanenbaum has been practicing in New York City and Long Island for over 20 years. He is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat bruxism, TMJ and TMD problems, Sleep Apnea, facial pain, muscle pain disorders, nerve pain disorders, tension headaches, and snoring. Learn more about Dr. Tanenbaum here.