Sharp throat and ear pain can be concerning for those experiencing it, and if you have it, you will want to figure out the cause so you can have peace of mind, as well as come up with an appropriate solution. A cold may be the cause, as this is the most common reason for this specific pain, but it can be due to other underlying things, too. Most of the time, a sore throat will pass in a few days. However, if it doesn’t and you find your ears are also hurting, you may want to book an appointment with an ENT to get to the bottom of it. 

Symptoms of sharp throat and ear pain may include: 

  • Mild to severe pain in the back of your throat 
  • A dry or scratchy feeling in your throat
  • Pain when swallowing or talking
  • Swollen glands in your neck or jaw
  • Muffled hearing
  • Feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Fluid drainage from ear

You may also find that your symptoms are accompanied by a headache, fever or a general feeling of being unwell. 

What are the potential causes?

Experiencing a sore throat and ear pain together could be caused by a number of conditions. They are as follows:

  • Tonsillitis: This is an inflammation of the tonsils, and is more common in children but can happen at any age. It is caused by bacteria or viruses, and can also come with pain when swallowing, swollen lymph nodes and fever. 
  • Allergies: Allergies are caused by pollen and dust that cause an inflammation of mucus membranes. Sneezing and nasal congestion may also be present. 
  • Acid reflux: This is a common condition that occurs when the stomach acid or contents of your stomach back up into your esophagus. You may find that your symptoms worsen when lying down or after a heavy meal. Heartburn is the most common symptom. You may also get indigestion and a lump in your throat. 
  • Mononucleosis: Sometimes called mono, this is an infectious disease caused by a virus. The symptoms can last for several weeks and can be severe. People in their teens and early 20s usually experience the symptoms, but it can happen to anybody. Fatigue, muscle aches and weakness and ear fullness are usually accompanying symptoms. 
  • Strep throat: This is a contagious infection that is caused by a group of bacteria. This can be quite painful and comes on very quickly. You may also notice tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth and have a fever.


Inhaling smoke or chemicals can irritate your eyes, nose and throat. Irritants include:

  • Smoke
  • Chlorine
  • Wood dust
  • Oven cleaner
  • Industrial cleaning products
  • Cement

If you work with irritants or spend time around them for whatever reason, you should make an effort to use protection or minimize your exposure in some way. 

A tooth infection or abscess

This is a pocket of pus at the tip of the tooth’s root. It is caused by a bacterial infection and can cause severe pain that radiates from your ear and jaw on the same side. You may also find that your neck or throat becomes swollen and tender, and that you have trouble chewing. You may even experience a fever in severe cases. 

Chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is a condition that causes cavities to become inflamed for around 12 weeks, even when having treatment. It interferes with mucus drainage, which causes a buildup and then leads to swelling and pain. You may also have bad breath, a cough, aching in your teeth and jaw and a thick, discolored mucus. 

Temporomandibular joint disorders

Otherwise referred to as TMD, this is a condition that affects the joints located in each side of your jaw. TMD causes pain and dysfunction in these joints, which control jaw movement. Unfortunately, the cause of this is unknown. You may also experience chronic headaches and facial pain, as well as cracking or popping noises coming from your jaw. 

As you can see, there are many potential causes of sharp throat and ear pain. The best thing to do is visit an ENT to find the cause and a solution. 

Learn more about Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates 

If you’d like to learn more about Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates and what we can do for you, you can contact the team using the following numbers depending on your location:

  • Sylva: 828-586-7474
  • Franklin: 828-524-5599
  • Murphy: 828-835-1014
  • New Asheville: 828-458-8100

Don’t hesitate to get in touch and book your appointment with Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates to come up with a solution for your situation today!