What Could Cause a Stabbing Pain in the Ear?

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When you experience an earache, the sensation can be dull or sharp. If you experience a stabbing pain in your ear, your doctor can help determine the cause and offer you treatment options.

A stabbing pain in the ear can be caused by infection or injury.
A stabbing pain in the ear can be caused by infection or injury. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Stabbing Pain in Ear

Sharp pain in the ears in children often is caused by an ear infection. An adult experiencing ear pain usually has an injury to the ear or is experiencing referred pain from somewhere else.

Doctor looking in patients ear
Doctor looking in patients ear (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Infection

According to the National Institutes of Health, ear infections occur when the Eustachian tube in a child's ear becomes blocked and fills with fluid. Bacteria can build up, causing inflammation and stabbing pain in a child's ear.

Doctor looking at child's ear in hospital
Doctor looking at child's ear in hospital (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Injury

An adult's ear can be injured by imbalance of pressure inside and outside the eardrum. The ear also can be injured by an object inserted into the ear canal. Both of these can result in severe ear pain.

Man cleaning ear with Qtip
Man cleaning ear with Qtip (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Treatment

An ear infection can be treated by draining the fluid from a child's ear and a prescription for a course of antibiotics. A pressure imbalance can be treated with medications, surgery or with tubes inserted into your ears. If an object lodged in your ear is causing pain, a doctor can remove it and provide pain medication.

Doctor pouring medicine in hand
Doctor pouring medicine in hand (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Considerations

If referred pain is causing pain in your ear, then treating the underlying condition, such as a toothache or arthritis of the jaw, will stop the stabbing pain in your ear as well.

Woman with toothache
Woman with toothache (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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