Recent Blog Articles
Have you done your crossword puzzle today?
Concerned about your child’s development?
Why all the buzz about inflammation — and just how bad is...
What’s the right way to brush your teeth?
Want to stay healthy over the holidays?
How to help your preschooler sleep alone
21 spices for healthy holiday foods
New guidelines on opioids for pain relief: What you need to know
Should you get an over-the-counter hearing aid?
Shortage of ADHD medicines: Advice on coping if you are affected
What Is It?
Pain in one or both ears can occur for many reasons, some not related to the ear at all. When the pain is caused by an ear problem, the most common reason is blockage of the passageway between the middle ear and the back of the throat. This passageway is called the Eustachian tube.
The middle ear is the small, air-filled cavity just behind the paper-thin eardrum. Normally, air enters the middle ear through the Eustachian tube, equalizing the pressure between the middle ear and outer ear. The Eustachian tube also drains fluid out of the middle ear. When this tube becomes blocked, and air and fluid cannot flow freely, pressure builds in the ear, causing pain.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!