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Otalgia is defined as ear pain. Two separate and distinct types of otalgia exist. Pain that originates within the ear is primary otalgia; pain that originates outside the ear is referred otalgia. Typical sources of primary otalgia are external otitis, otitis media, mastoiditis, and auricular infections.


Otalgia sings and symptoms reported by patients in decreasing order, displayed in Table 1, were: perception of articulated sound, tinnitus, ear fullness sensation (regardless rest state or motion of TMA), sensation of jaw stiffness (noticed of not by the observer), pain or difficulty to open the mouth, dizziness


Otalgia has many different causes. It divides into primary (arising from the ear) and secondary or referred (stemming from an organ outside the ear) causes. Primary otalgia tends to be more frequent and is usually due to an ear infection, acute otitis media, especially in children.

Risk factors

Anatomic abnormalities.

Day care.

Siblings with otitis media.

Smoking in household.

Supine bottles.

Age older than 50 years, ESR greater than 50 mm per hour.

Coronary artery disease risk factors.

Diabetes or immunocompromised state.

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If the infection spreads to adjacent bone, it can cause petrous apicitis, mastoiditis, or malignant otitis externa. Secondary or referred otalgia occurs as a result of the complex cranial nerve network that innervates the ear.


Earaches happen for lots of reasons. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing an earache:

Protect your ears when you fly in airplanes so you don’t have barotrauma.

Clean your ears with care. Use a swab to clean your outer ear and avoid digging into your ear canal.

Upper respiratory infections can make your ears hurt and may cause painful ear infections. Reduce your risk of developing infections by washing your hands particularly if you’re in the habit of touching your nose, eyes and mouth. You should also avoid people who are sick.