Ear Protection Advice

What Causes a Shooting Pain in the Ear?

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What Causes a Shooting Pain in the Ear?

We’ve all had moments when we’ve experienced a temporary loss of hearing. This is most commonly experienced after being exposed to extremely loud noises like a jet engine blasting, a gun firing at close range or even attending a loud rock concert.

It starts with a constant ringing and humming that we cannot get rid of for a few minutes or even hours after the initial exposure. More often than not, normal hearing capabilities come back without any major damage.

Temporary hearing loss might not seem like a big deal at first, but constant exposure to loud noises without protection can lead to more serious and permanent damage. What causes shooting pain in ear is a concern for many who have been exposed to loud noises. Here are the common reasons why you might experience this kind of pain:

Ear Infection: What Causes a Shooting Pain in the Ear?

Children are more susceptible to earaches than adults because of an undetected ear infection. This is caused when fluid builds up inside the middle ear which is behind the ear drum.

The fluid accumulated inside prevents the ossicles from properly vibrating which results in difficulty hearing. If the fluid is not drained, a sharp pain may be experienced from time to time.

Seek professional help if you experience any form of pain that is also accompanied by minor hearing loss.

Excessive Ear Wax Build-Up

You’ve heard it many times: you should never clean your ears using cotton swabs because it can cause more harm than good. People with excessive ear wax tend to experience a sharp pain in their ears because of the pressure put on the ear drum by the wax.

A cotton swab is not capable of cleaning the inner ear, but instead pushes the ear wax further inside and nearer the ear drums.

Too much ear wax build-up can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss depending on the gravity of the situation. If you experience sharp pains in your ear, consult with a doctor and they can clear built-up ear wax before it causes any more damage.

Ruptured Ear Drums

A ruptured ear drum causes a lot of pain. This is the main symptom of a compromised ear drum. It can cause a shooting pain in ear, but it can also be steady throughout the day. The intensity can also decrease and increase at random times.

People who have a ruptured ear drum experience a variety of symptoms which include temporary hearing loss, permanently reduced hearing capability in the affected ear, tinnitus and even dizziness.

Sometimes when fluid starts to leak it can include blood and pus which is a big signal to go see a doctor right away. Your doctor will help you with pain relief and preventing infection from happening. Consult with a doctor immediately if you suspect your ear drums have ruptured.

Acoustic Trauma

Acoustic trauma can happen as a result of physical injury on or near the ears and more commonly because of constant exposure to extreme and loud noises. This is a very common but preventable cause of hearing loss.

If ears are not protected around loud noises this can also lead to tinnitus, which is a constant ringing and humming in the ears that is very annoying and bothersome. Tinnitus is not a condition by itself but rather a symptom of other more serious hearing and ear problems.

People who are most at risk of shooting pain in ear because of acoustic trauma are as follows:

  • Workers exposed to loud and constant industrial machinery
  • Those who live or work in places where high-decibel sounds are the norm
  • Avid shooters and hunters
  • Anyone who is exposed to loud noises for an extended period of time without proper ear protection
  • Children attending loud concerts and events

Awareness and wearing the correct kind of hearing protection gear helps with avoiding acoustic trauma. Although the symptoms of acoustic trauma may not be permanent at first, it can take its toll on your hearing. Do not wait until the damage becomes serious before you start protecting your ears.


Losing your sense of hearing is traumatic and debilitating. Do your best to protect what you have and make use of ear protectors to reduce the chance of permanently losing your ability to hear.

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