Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions/Ear pain


Hi I have ear pain really bad. Everytime I go to the Emergency Room they say I have a swimmers ear. They say the ear is red and swollen. So they give me drops. So I go to follow up with my doctor he says the same thing the Emergency Room says. He says keep putting the drops in the ear. I tell him when I put the drops in my ear it feels like air going into my ear. It feels weird. So he sent me to a ENT doctor. He says that I have TMJ and to stop the ear drops and wear a mouth guard at night. So I do as he says. A year later I still have ear pain and this ENT won't do anything for me. I tried to get a second opinion and it was a doctor I did not pick he says the exact same thing that it is the TMJ and their is nothing wrong with my ears. What can I do? Thanks.

well, I am not sure I believe that someone can mistake tmj and swimmer's ear.... but it is easy to have swimmers ear and with a few days of eardrops to make it look normal.  If the ear is continuing to be red and swollen, then it is not TMJ.  But if the ear now looks normal and you have continued pain, there is anther problem.   TMJ is just one problem that can cause ear /jaw pain in that area.   There are others.  

a weird sensation putting drops in the ear makes me wonder whether you had an eardrum perforation.  but typically, swimmers ear can look pretty normal after 5-7 days of drops, so it is hard to tell on a followup visit.....

There are a few options..... image that area with an MRI to look at the joint.   Get yet another opinion by an ENT that is going to look back historically at your course and sort it out.   

Good luck with everything........

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Robert Borucki


I am an expert in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine.


I am trained and boarded in Family Medicine and have also worked extensively in emergency medicine for over 10 years.

BA in Natural Sciences; MD in 1986\borucki

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