Pain Behind Ear, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and More

Pain Behind Ear, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and More

After going through the COVID pandemic, any uncommon symptom in our body scares us. For example, if you suddenly feel pain behind ear, you might not know why.

You start Googling results, hoping it is not a new COVID symptom, but who knows?

Well, in this blog post, I want to tell you how I myself faced something similar and panicked about it.

I too searched for relevant results and when I went through them I decided to create a blog post so you know what to do if you feel pain under ear behind jaw bone.

Why do I have pain behind ear and down neck

The foremost thing to do when you face a problem like this is to not ignore it. If your pain behind ear worsen or doesn’t get better soon, this could indicate serious underlying health conditions.

Below are a few reasons why you might experience pain behind ear base of skull:

Fluid build-up behind ears

There are instances when fluid builds up behind your eardrum, which may result in pain and discomfort. If you have any nasal congestion, this could cause an accumulation of fluid behind your eardrum. This also happens when your sinuses inflame as a result of allergies.

Ear infection

One of the most common causes of pain behind ear is a bacterial or fungal infection in your ear canal. This can be a result of either a chronic ear problem or as a result of trauma. If you have been exposed to water in your ears for an extended period, this can cause an infection.

Pain Behind Ear, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and More


The typical cause includes a benign or malignant tumor pressing on one of the nerves linked with this region. It also can be due to an injury, infection, or inflammation of these nerves.

Severe cases may involve loss of hearing, which may be permanent in some instances. This condition is not as common as headaches caused by migraines or tension but is often treated with medications and complementary therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is a painful ear infection that can occur after exposure to water, such as swimming or diving. It is caused by an obstruction of the eustachian tube, which acts as a one-way valve in your middle or inner ear.

When pressure changes occur, the eustachian tube allows air and fluid to drain from the middle ear. Once blocked, fluid and bacteria accumulate and cause an eardrum infection with pain, severe itching, and sometimes hearing loss.

Pressure on the external auditory canal (eardrum)

One of the most likely causes of pain in the back of the ears is small differences in air pressure between the middle ear and the outside environment. This can result from an infection, inflammation within the ruptured eardrum, or fluid build-up that compresses it from both sides.

Therefore, the outer canal can become swollen with fluid due to an injury or wax build-up that prevents air from escaping. If air can’t escape, it puts pressure on the eardrum and causes pain behind the ear.

Temporal bone fracture

A temporal bone fracture is often characterized by an acute onset of severe pain in and around the ear, a feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected ear, hearing loss, and sometimes bleeding from your ear.

Not to mention this injury occurs at the base of your skull, either along the jaw line or behind your ear, and is normally diagnosed with X-rays and CT scans of the skull (and sometimes other scans). If left untreated without treatment, it can lead to facial paralysis.

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Diagnosis Procedure

It is hard to diagnose pain behind the ear because it can be challenging to understand, especially if you’re not a doctor. So, if you are experiencing pain behind your ear, it is imperative to diagnose the source to avoid any possible complications.

There are several diagnostic tests that doctors can use to help them determine if there is any pain behind the ear. These include a temperature test, an objective test, and an imaging test. A doctor might conduct all of them simultaneously, or they might be done separately.

Temperature Test

The temperature test is performed by placing two thermometers in the ear canal and measuring how long it takes for both temperatures to rise above a certain level. This is called a tympanic thermometer. The tympanic level is determined by the distance between the eardrum and the outer portion of your ear canal (the external auditory meatus).

If the temperature of the left ear doesn’t increase above the tympanic level within a certain time frame, then it’s likely that there’s pain behind the ear. If only your left ear increases in temperature, then it’s possible that you have a tumor or some other growth in your left middle ear.

Tissue Damage Diagnosis

On the other hand, the objective test is done by examining whether there is actual tissue damage behind the ear. Tissue damage can be revealed by testing for reflexes or muscle strength in this location.

Doctors can also detect it through the electromyography (EMG) test, which involves placing electrodes on muscles at the back of your head and measuring how they contract when you contact them. A muscle that is too relaxed can be a sign of a problem with pain behind the ear; a muscle that’s too tight may indicate some disorder of the muscles in this area.

Pain Behind Ear, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and More

X-ray Imaging Test

The imaging test requires some X-ray images, which can reveal damage to bones, cartilage, tendons, or other underlying structures.

An ultrasound image can also help with issues in this area. Any findings from these tests could be used to make an accurate diagnosis. Hence, the diagnosis helps evaluate that carefully to help you understand it better.

If recommended further tests do not reveal the cause of your pain, then it might be necessary to perform additional tests. Depending on the recommended tests and whether they’re medically indicated, medical insurance might cover them or require a co-payment.

Common symptoms of pain behind ear and down neck

Pain behind the ear and down neck covid can happen due to a coronavirus mutant or originate from many different sources.

It can be a sign of sinus infection, blockage in the thyroid or salivary gland (such as after surgery), trauma to the head and neck, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, or diabetic neuropathy.

When the pain happens in such areas, it is often difficult to identify its source accurately. Whereas the pressure points, tenderness of sinus areas, and other diagnostic tests can help provide a diagnosis.

Common symptoms of sharp pain behind the ear include the following:


14% of people who report pain behind ears also experience headaches. This is two times more likely than for people who report no ear problems.


Tension builds up in the neck and shoulder muscles when you overwork. This fatigue may lead to pain behind ear and down neck.

Poor posture

If you tend to sit with your head forward and your shoulders curved, this may lead to tension in the upper back. Daily habits such as reading a book or watching television in this position may make symptoms worse.

Muscle strain

If you experience sharp pain behind the ear, it is worth testing for a muscle strain. The neck muscles are susceptible to injury when overused.

Apart from these, symptoms can differ for each individual due to the various causes of pain behind ear. So, you must have a professional diagnose you thoroughly and get the best possible treatment for quick relief.

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Pain Behind Ear, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and More

Treatment for pain behind ear base of skull

Like most people, you’re probably unaware of the best medical treatment for ear pain. But don’t panic; there are various home treatments for everyone.

These are usually naturally occurring, affordable, and simple at home. So, let’s review some options for getting rid of the pain behind your ear.

Change your diet

You can reduce inflammation in the ear by eliminating foods that contain histamines. The most common histamine food is shellfish.

Shellfish is not usually the cause of chronic ear infections, but it can trigger pain when the injury is bad, and your immunity power is below average.

Hydrogen peroxide treatment for sharp ear pain

You can use hydrogen peroxide to help with a severe ear infection. This would be more for a deep infection not clearing up with antibiotic treatments.

Only use the 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide if you are using it for a deep infection. This is the stuff you find in the stores and is usually labeled as an antiseptic treatment in health food stores, or you can find it on Amazon online.

­­­Hot and cold applications

You can apply hot and cold compresses to the outer part of your ear to help reduce pain. Try experimenting with hot compresses before cold ones since they tend to be less irritating and more conducive to healing. You can also apply a hot water bottle to the outer ear, which helps with pain and tiredness.

Topical treatment for sharp pain behind the ear

You can apply topical creams or sprays for pain relief. These should be diluted so that you don’t risk hurting the skin in the inner part of your ear. This is usually not enough to treat a severe infection. Still, it’s always helpful to keep the ears lubricated with natural moisture so that bacteria cannot make their way into your inner ear, leading to greater pain and discomfort.

Herbal remedies

Many herbal remedies consumed internally can reduce ear pain. The most common is Goldenseal. You can find this at any health food store in the herbal remedy aisle. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies to ensure that they won’t interact with other medications or treatments.

Pain relievers

Sometimes pain relievers can offer temporary relief, but they should not be the only treatment you use to reduce pain behind ears. It would help if you also looked into treatments that will treat the cause of the pain so that you can get long-term relief.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two pain relievers you find in most drugstores. You can also use an anti-inflammatory gel which is usually sold in combination with cold packs.

Prevention measures

If you can prevent getting an ear infection in the first place, it’s always a better option than treating them later on. You can do this by keeping a healthy environment for your ears to thrive. This means you should clean your ears properly, have the right amount of moisture around your ears and use safe dehumidifiers and humidifiers.

Other solutions

Several other solutions exist to help with pain and discomfort behind the ear, but they are generally not used as often as our other options listed here. These solutions include avoiding tobacco products, using heat and cold treatments, acupuncture treatments, and others.

Final Thoughts

We often run into body pain and aches that feel normal initially but can worsen if not treated with extra care. Similarly, if you are struggling with pain behind ear, following the possible treatment methods will greatly help you deal with them without paying a visit to the doctor.

However, if you find the pain too severe and disturbing, it is not wise to treat it at home. We recommend consulting an ENT specialist immediately to avoid serious damage to your ears in the long run.


This article provides general information about symptoms and treatments regarding pain behind the ear and neck. It is not intended as medical advice. It would help if you always talked with a physician before seeking medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions regarding a medical condition. Information is provided on this website for educational purposes only.