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Why Is Sore Throat and Ear Pain Together?

ENT doctors explain that the Ears, Nose and Throat are interconnected. They work together as one unit with each piece having an individual role. This means that a problem in any one of the parts - ear, nose or throat - directly affects the other two.

The Eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the throat. It helps to balance the pressure inside the ear. Hence, any infection in the ear can easily spread to the throat and vice-versa. Thus, an earache can extend to the throat or the way around. Read this article to know about the possible causes, other symptoms to look out, and possible treatment options for throat and ear pain.

Possible Causes of Sore Throat and Ear Pain

The primary cause of throat pain or earache is an infection in the throat or ear. Moreover, the infection can occur due to various risk factors. Some of the possible reasons are explained below-

  • Allergies- Inhaling pollen and dust can cause inflammation of the mucous membranes in the throat. This inflammation can lead to pressure build-up in the ears that can lead to earache.
  • Tonsillitis- The inflammation and infection of the tonsils due to the spreading of an untreated throat infection is known as tonsillitis.
  • Quinsy- Also known as peritonsillar abscesses, these develop in the throat when tonsillitis treatment is delayed. As it develops in the throat, the pain can extend till the ears.
  • Mononucleosis- Commonly known as mono, this is a viral infection. Teens and people in their 20s are prone to developing mononucleosis. It is highly contagious which means the viruses can spread from the throat to the ear easily.
  • Strep throat- Strep throat is a type of throat infection that develops due to a bacterial attack. This causes immense pain in the throat. Delaying its treatment can lead to ear infections too as the bacteria spread from the throat to the ear.
  • Sinusitis- Apart from experiencing nasal congestion or heaviness around the face, people suffering from sinusitis often add that they are having an earache too.
  • Dental problems- Sometimes problems in the tooth such as a cracked tooth, decaying of the tooth or abscess can also result in earache. Eating something hot or cold or taking a bite or even chewing can also trigger the pain.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders- A disorder in the Temporomandibular joint occurs when there is the erosion of the bone or overuse of the surrounding muscles. The joint is close to the ears, so opening or closing the jaw can result in earache.

Symptoms Other Than Throat and Ear Pain

In the majority of the cases, there can be other symptoms that you are likely to experience in addition to earache and soreness in the throat due. Look out for the additional symptoms that can help determine fast what is causing throat and ear pain and its appropriate treatment.

  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Pain while swallowing or speaking
  • Swelling of glands in the neck or jaw
  • Dryness or scratchiness in the throat
  • Difficulty hearing
  • High fever
  • Feeling chilly
  • Loss of hearing
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling dizzy

Sore Throat And Ear Pain Remedies

Depending on the cause of the ear pain or throat pain, there are some natural remedies that you can try. The best thing about these remedies is that they do not cause any side effects. In some cases, they can cure the problem completely-

  • Rinse with a mixture of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of salt
  • Consume warm liquids that feel soothing such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or warm water with lemon
  • Keep your throat cool by eating a cold treat such as a popsicle or ice cream
  • Suck a lozenge or a piece of hard candy
  • Turn on a cool-mist humidifier
  • Rest your voice to make your throat feel better

Prevention of Infection in Ears and Throat

Now that you can see it is difficult to live with a sore throat and ear pain, it is best to avoid them at all. Try these precautionary measures to lower the chances of infection in the throat or ear.

  • Stay away from smoke in every way possible
  • Avoid going to dusty places or cover your face to prevent inhaling of dust particles or allergens
  • Make sure that all your vaccines are complete
  • Frequently wash the hands to prevent the germs from spreading
  • After swimming or taking a shower, dry the ears with a towel
  • Do not share food, drinks or utensils with other persons
  • Clean the ear gently regularly with a cotton swab

Treatment for Sore Throat and Ear Pain

In case you have developed an infection in the ear or throat and are not getting treated with the above remedies, it’s time to look for other treatment options.

  • Antibiotics- In case the infection is due to a bacterial attack, doctors prescribe antibiotics such as amoxicillin. However, most of the infections in the throat or ear are due to viruses or fungi. It is recommended to take these medicines only after proper consultation with a doctor. Or in case of ear infection, the doctor can drain the accumulated fluid to prevent it from getting infected.
  • Nasal or oral corticosteroids- Corticosteroids treat swelling and inflammation caused due to allergies or allergic asthma. Doctors prescribe these to take when suffering from sinusitis to relive out the pressure.
  • Painkillers- Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide temporary relief from earache or throat pain.
  • Allergy medicines- Before going to bed, take anti-histamines that can lower the risk of an allergic reaction triggering when you inhale any irritant mistakenly.
  • Ear drops or throat sprays- The ear drops can decrease the excessive pressure inside the ear while the throat sprays moist the throat lining that can reduce the scratchiness inside the throat.
  • Surgery- When medicines fail and remedies deem to be ineffective, consider the option of surgery. The surgery will mainly include removing the part where the pain has started- the tonsils or adenoids. It can also include patching up a hole in the eardrum that is causing frequent ear infections. Removal of the tonsil is done during tonsillectomy while fixing a hole in the eardrum is known as tympanoplasty.

Conclusion

The throat and ear are connected through a tube which makes it easier for infection to spread from ear to throat. Hence, this is the reason for soreness in the throat whenever there is an ear infection or ear pain whenever there is a throat infection. Pain in the ear or throat is easily treatable with proper medicines and remedies. When these fail, one can seek to undergo surgery. Consult with an ENT doctor soon in case you are suffering from throat pain or ear pain.

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