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Medical Specialties

At the Center for Neurosciences, we work together across specialties to provide the best, most comprehensive approach to treatment.

Otalgia (Ear Pain)

Otalgia (ear pain) can have many different causes. Primary otalgia is ear pain that is directly related to a problem with the ear. Common causes of primary otalgia include: cerumen (earwax) impaction, acute otitis externa (Swimmer’s Ear), acute perichondritis, acute otitis media (middle ear infection), mastoiditis, and ear trauma. Secondary otalgia is ear pain that arises from another place in the body. Common causes include sinusitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), dental problems, pathology in the oral cavity/oropharynx, migraine/tension headaches, or neurogenic (nerve-related) pain.

Otalgia may be acute (short-term), chronic (long-term), or recurrent. People with acute otalgia may have ear drainage, feeling of fullness in the ear, nasal congestion, fever, or headache. Chronic otalgia typically occurs without any other symptoms. Recurrent otalgia may be accompanied by dizziness, tinnitus, or hearing loss.

Why Choose Us

  • Dr. Abraham Jacob, Medical Director for Ear & Hearing (E&H) at the Center for Neurosciences (CNS), is fellowship trained in Otology, Neurotology, and Cranial Base Surgery. He is the first and most experienced Neurotologist in Southern Arizona.
  • Dr. Jacob was a founding member of the University of Arizona (UA) Department of Otolaryngology prior to his departure and transition to CNS. At UA, he was Vice Chair of ENT and held the rank of full Professor with Tenure. Dr. Jacob has an international reputation for Otology/Neurtology.
  • Dr. Jacob transitioned his practice to the Center for Neurosciences in early 2017 as he felt that the new environment helped him to optimize the delivery of personalized ear and lateral skull base care.
  • Dr. Jacob’s management approach to patients with otalgia is to rule out serious underlying causes. He typically performs a comprehensive microscope examination of the ears, a thorough cranial nerve examination when necessary, a fiberoptic examination of the nasopharynx/oropharynx/larynx, and obtains high-resolution temporal bone imaging (CT scan and MRI). Appropriate referrals to dentists, neurologists, and pain management specialists are made based on results of his evaluation. Should a serious temporal bone source for otalgia be identified, Dr. Jacob is an expert in surgical management of ear diseases.