If you’ve been wondering if the pain in one or both of your ears can be coming from something wrong in your sinuses, you may very well be correct.
But it’s important to realize that this particular symptom — persistent ear pain — can have any number of possible causes (including serious such as a brain tumor or throat cancer) that are unrelated to the sinuses.
Another unrelated cause, believe it or not, is TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. A problem with the jaw joint can radiate pain to the ear, since the pivotal area of the jaw is located very close by.
Infection is always a consideration, but should respond very well and quickly to a course of antibiotics.
Other benign causes unrelated to the sinus include acid reflux, allergies, arthritis of the neck (cervical) spine, earwax buildup and an impacted tooth.
If your ear pain persists despite being told by an ENT doctor that there is nothing going on with your sinus cavities, then you should pursue this symptom with your primary care physician.
Connection Between Sinus Problems and Pain in the Ears
“Sinus problems commonly cause ear pain,” says Dr. Stacey Silvers, MD, of Madison ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery in NYC, who is board certified in otolaryngology.
“The nasal and sinus linings are the same membranes that line the Eustachian tube,” explains Dr. Silvers.
“The Eustachian tube ventilates the middle ear. When the nasal or sinus lining is a little swollen or congested, the ear tube (Eustachian tube) can be swollen as well.
“This leads to negative pressure in the middle ears which can lead to pressure and/or ear pain.”
Additionally, continues Dr. Silvers, “Nasal blockage from congestion or a deviated septum can decrease airflow through that side of the nose and reduce air that gets into the Eustachian tube on that side. This can cause ear pain.”
An NYC expert in ear, nose and throat care, Dr. Silvers has been named among America’s Top Physicians and Surgeons in facial plastic surgery and otolaryngology numerous times since 2003.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.