Throat & Ear Pain

Reasons for pain in the ear when you have throat pain can be many. Let us look at the first reason. We all have had influenza and the common cold. When a bacterial infection attacks along with the flu, it leads to infections in the throat, nose and sinuses area. Of these infections, the throat infection can result in sore throat, hoarse voice, difficulty in swallowing and ear pain. Throat and ear pain together can be cause by a blocked Eustachian tube because of the infection in the throat.

This is because a blocked tube hinders drainage of mucus from the middle ear. This pain creates pressure and makes the ear drum distended. The pressure is created by the mucus in the middle ear cavity using up the oxygen present in the little amount of air present in the cavity. In the natural process, this air is replaced each time we swallow or yawn, but if the tube is mal-functioning, the oxygen gets exhausted quickly.

In the same way, infection often causes swelling in the throat or tonsils which block this tube. Due to this, the negative pressure within the middle ear makes the drum retract, which results in a feeling of fullness and mild deafness and throat and ear pain.

A second reason for throat and ear pain can be referred pain, related to the nearves in our head. We have 12 pairs of cranial nerves and others that innervate the throat and go down to the neck via the ear. Just because the ability of these nerves to exactly locate the centre of pain is poor, acute pressure on a nerve in the throat because of inflammation cause by an infection could be declared by the nerve as a pain in the ear.

In case the pain is caused by Eustachian tube dysfunction or by swelling in the throat, it can be treated by removing the congestion either medically or by steam inhalation. In case of referred pain, the source and not the location of the pain need to be identified and treated.