Sore Throat and Ear pain: What is the reason behind?

sore throat and ear pain

Sore throat is one of the most common conditions, significantly when the season changes. During the pandemic period, many people suffered from throat pain and wondered whether they were COVID positive? However, it is just a side effect of the weather or any allergens infecting the human body in the usual scenario. But have you ever given a thought to why sore throat and ear pain occur together sometimes?

Throat and Ear Pain is an ongoing health condition, and most people suffer from it once a year. Several factors contribute to its occurrence, and any of them collectively cause a person to feel a sore throat and ear pain on one side, or at times on both sides. If you are one of those readers who have stumbled upon this blog because of your consistent misery of enduring a sore throat and ear pain, you must understand every possible fact associated with it.  

This article would give you an elaborative understanding of the connection between the occurrence of sore throat and ear pain together and what are the possible ways to cure the condition?

What Are the Possible Causes of Sore Throat and Ear Pain?

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Sore throat is an infectious health condition that causes severe pain in the throat’s back. The most general and prevailing cause of this condition is Cold and Flu. Season changes, pollution increase in the environment, or sitting with a contagious person leads to suffering from such health problems. 

However, throat pain tends to occur only for a week or so. It would naturally subside with home remedies. Nevertheless, if the person experiences sore throat and ear pain at one go, the reason might be something more profound than simple flu resulting from season fluctuation. One must identify whether or not their pain is severe and the level of difficulty they are facing with the frequent pain.

To categorize the extremity of the experience, we must look into the two most frequently occurring possibilities: a common throat and ear pain and sore throat and ear pain on one side. However, both of these would somewhat contain similar causes, but some might differ from the other. 

Tonsillitis 

It is the most commonly prevailing cause behind the sore throat and ear pain. We have two glands located on two sides of our throats, known as Tonsils. Inflammation in both these glands due to allergens or the common cold leads to Tonsilitis. One would have often heard people mention, “ear hurts when I swallow.” So, Tonsillitis would be the reason why a person would find it difficult to swallow their food,” and it would have a direct influence on their middle ear, causing sharp pain. In Tonsillitis, the lymph nodes tend to get swollen, and the person suffers from fever. Hence,  it becomes an easy-to-diagnose condition. Although the disease is more frequent amongst children, experts believe that individuals of any age can experience it. 

Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is another reason behind the sore throat and ear pain, commonly known as The Kissing Disease, as it could get transmitted through saliva. This health problem is more severe than the other causes of throat and ear pain but often seen amongst teenagers and young adults.

The Epstein-Barr virus is why this disease enters a host’s body and could last for several weeks. Apart from experiencing sore throat and ear pain, the other prevalent symptom of the disease is a steady feeling of fatigue, visibly swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, and even groin and muscle ache, along with weakness.

There might be a possibility that there is sore throat and ear pain, but no fever.  It is best to talk to an expert about your experience and consult about the possible reason behind the symptoms. 

Strep Throat

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It is a condition where the attack of bacteria leads to infection in the throat. At times, the bacteria from the throat infection travels down to the Eustachian tube and causes an infection in the middle ear. Hence, a person feels extreme pain in the ear, along with the throat. Some common symptoms of the disease include swollen lymph nodes on the back and front of the neck, running down with fever, and tiny red spots on the mouth’s roof. 

Chronic Sinusitis

Sinus is a common condition that results in sore throat and ear pain. Although the situation is bound to improve within a few weeks, chronic sinusitis is prolonged even when obtaining treatment from an expert. 

It could last as long as 12 weeks. The air-filled pockets known as the sinus muscles throughout the face, ear, and throat hinder mucus drainage due to inflammation. Hence, a person would feel severe pain in their face and other symptoms such as nasal congestion, bad breath, cough, thick and discolored mucus, and headache. 

Irritants

Our mucous membranes in the ear are pretty sensitive to all external irritants such as smoke, pollution, dust, toxic chemicals, etc. Hence, when they inhale these substances, it causes inflammation and affects the ability to hear. So, when one inhales poisonous chemicals such as paint thinner, cement, gasoline, chlorine, etc, it acts as an allergen causing a harsh sore throat and ear pain. The environmental factors are never in our control, and one could find these irritants and toxic elements in the environment while traveling outside. 

Causes of Sore Throat and Ear Pain on One Side

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While we have discussed some common reasons for sore throat and ear pain, some people have also asked, ‘Why does my ear Hurt?’ They would enquire about it specifically post experiencing ear and throat pain on one side. So let’s look into those plausible reasons too.

Tmd (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders)

Our skull and jaw are connected with each other through Temporomandibular joints. They also pass through the ears too and help in the opening of the mouth. They keep the alignment of the jaw and mouth in the proper position. 

Few people have the habit of clenching their teeth and grinding them hard at night due to anxiety or any other mental health issues. So it disrupts the alignment of the jaw causing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. TMD causes pain radiating through the face and reaching on one side of the throat and ear. The other symptoms are severe headaches clicking and popping sounds while closing the mouth or eating. 

Tooth Infection

Tooth Infection is a general problem, especially in adults witnessing cavity and tooth loss. A person could also experience a dental abscess which is a bacterial infection in the tooth’s root. It gets filled with a pocket of pus, causing pain at frequent intervals. 

As a result, a person experience’s pain on a single side radiating from jaw to ears and the development of swollen lymph nodes in the neck. One would find their jaw, tooth, and gums very much sensitive to heat and cold substances. There could be a possibility of fever and swelling on the cheek. 

Allergens

Allergies are a common problem, especially during seasonal change. An asthmatic person or a person with sinus would find it difficult to adjust to a specific season that triggers their allergic reaction. These allergen substances in the atmosphere affect the mucous membranes causing inflammation in its lining. 

Inflammation caused by these allergens does not allow the mucus to come out of the ear as the membrane suffers from blockage. Hence, the mucus reaches the throat and is known as Post Nasal Drip. The ear suffers from pain and pressure due to blockage at one side. This pain also radiate towards the throat. Thus, it is a significant cause of sore throat and ear pain on one side.

Symptoms of Sore Throat and Ear Pain

sore throat and ear pain

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  • Moderate or extreme pain at the back of the throat
  • The appearance of swelled up lymph nodes
  • An extreme dry feeling inside the throat
  • Consistent itchiness in Throat
  • White Patches or Pus on tonsils
  • Inability to swallow or talk properly
  • Muffled noises appeared while trying to hear
  • Dull aching or burning sensation in both the ears
  • Fluid drainage from the ear
  • Inability to hear correctly

Also Read: How to Unclog Ears in a Simple Yet Efficient Way

Possible Treatment Option for Throat and Ear Pain

Most probably, a sore throat and ear pain would take time and would disappear on their own. Meanwhile, you could try home remedies and other over-the-counter medications that help you stabilize your condition and reduce the pain. Remember that if you are diagnosed with a disease that needs proper treatment, avoid taking medicines on your own and be in constant touch with your doctor. 

Others who seek for remedies to try at home and improve their condition can:

  • Frequently do gargle with hot water and salt. It always helps with a sore throat.
  • Try using a humidifier so that your throat and ear do not feel dry and remain sufficiently moist, making it easier to endure the condition. 
  • If you are suffering from TMD, try keeping hot and cold patches over your head, throat, and side of the ear. It helps in reducing the pain.
  • Doctors have mentioned that olive oil seems to work well when they are applied two-three drops inside the ear.
  • Try using a throat spray specifically available for sore throat. 

When to Speak to an Expert?

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Any disease for an extended period is not a good sign and is an indication that you must seek a medical expert as soon as possible. It is best not to apply any home remedies and get yourself diagnosed with the exact medical condition in such a situation. If you are suffering from symptoms like:

  • Blood along with pus draining from the ear
  • Consistent feeling of dizziness
  • An ongoing high fever
  • Unbearable pain in the ear and throat
  • A persistent experience of acid reflux.

If the condition turns severe, a doctor will go for tests such as Blood samples, looking through the middle ear via tympanometry, and other imaging options to have a clear picture of the condition. There are sporadic cases of tonsils being removed due to fatal infection in the throat. You should seek medical advice instead of relying on other health resources.

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