All earaches should be assessed by a health care professional – though not all are due to serious illness.
The most common cause is infection. This can be of the inner ear (otitis media ) or ear canal ( otitis externa ).
Earache during airplane flights is commonly due to pressure in the inner ear. Swallowing or blowing the nose will
sometimes relieve the pressure.
Rare causes of earache include diseases outside the ear where the pain is “referred” to the ear. This includes pathology of the sinuses, teeth, gums, jaw and other structures.