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Can the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, cause ear pain?

ANSWER

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the "hinge" of your jaw that sits directly below your ears. You might get TMJ pain from grinding your teeth, or it could be a symptom of arthritis. The ache in your ears or face comes after you chew, talk, or yawn. To treat it, take over-the-counter pain medicine and put warm compresses on your jaw. Try not to clench your teeth. You may benefit from using a mouth guard when you sleep. This can help ease the tension that causes ear pain. Eating soft foods will help, too.

From: Why Does My Ear Hurt? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Fairview Health Services Health Library: “Earache, No Infection (Adult).”

American Family Physician : “Diagnosis of Ear Pain.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: “AAO-HNSF Clinical Practice Guideline: Earwax Removal ” “Earaches and Otitis Media,” “Ears and Altitude,” “Earwax and Care,” “Experts Update Best Practices for Diagnosis and Treatment of Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) Important Patient Education on Healthy Ear Care.” ,

CDC: “Facts about Swimmer’s Ear.”

Medscape: “Otalgia.”

Mayo Clinic: TMJ Disorders: “Overview,” “Treatment.”

National Health Service: “Earache,” “What Are the Differential Diagnoses for Chronic Ear Pain?”

Nemours TeensHealth: “Cellulitis.”

Canadian Medical Association Journal : “Antibiotic treatment for acute otitis media: time to think again.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on March 24, 2019

SOURCES:

Fairview Health Services Health Library: “Earache, No Infection (Adult).”

American Family Physician : “Diagnosis of Ear Pain.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: “AAO-HNSF Clinical Practice Guideline: Earwax Removal ” “Earaches and Otitis Media,” “Ears and Altitude,” “Earwax and Care,” “Experts Update Best Practices for Diagnosis and Treatment of Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) Important Patient Education on Healthy Ear Care.” ,

CDC: “Facts about Swimmer’s Ear.”

Medscape: “Otalgia.”

Mayo Clinic: TMJ Disorders: “Overview,” “Treatment.”

National Health Service: “Earache,” “What Are the Differential Diagnoses for Chronic Ear Pain?”

Nemours TeensHealth: “Cellulitis.”

Canadian Medical Association Journal : “Antibiotic treatment for acute otitis media: time to think again.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on March 24, 2019

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When should I see my doctor about ear pain?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.