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What Causes Tingling Ears?

An ear infection following a cold can cause tingling ears.
Ear specialists may help diagnose problems associated with tingling ears.
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  • Written By: Kimberly Sharpe
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The sensation of tingling ears, also called paresthesia ears, causes the sufferer to feel a pins-and-needles sensation within the ear canal. The discomfort is often accompanied by numbness or heightened sensitivity. Tingling within an ear is often an indication of an infection, injury or damage to the nerves. Suffers are urged to seek prompt medical advice. Tingling ears are often accompanied by ringing within the ears, which is known as tinnitus.

Tingling ears are often a symptom of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy or a tumor. The problem can also indicate a possible myocardial infarction. Injuries such as a sensory nerve trauma, sensory nerve compression, cerebrovascular accident, peripheral neuropathy or a severe blow to the head can also leave the sufferer with a tingling sensation within the ear canal. Tingling ears can also indicate a disorder within the oral cavity, dental problems, or a jaw issue. A tingling sensation can also be caused by exposure to loud music or progressive hearing loss.

Infections often cause a tingling feeling in the ear. After suffering a common cold, a sinus or ear infection may develop. During the height of allergy season, many people with tingling ears have an increase in the sensation as their allergy symptoms become more severe. Excessive exposure to severe cold can also cause the ears to begin to tingle and suffer numbness.

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If tingling occurs after a person begins taking a new medication, the sufferer should promptly report the symptom to the doctor. The sensation can be a side effect of certain medications. A doctor will be able to advice the patient about whether he should discontinue the medication, or prescribe a substitute to alleviate the problem.

Tingling or ringing in the ears can be annoying to the sufferer and can even disrupt sleep, which will inadvertently affect everyday life or job performance. Suffers should seek advice from their family doctor, who may refer them to a specialist such as an ear, nose and throat doctor. The doctor will evaluate your family history, perform a physical exam and may order further tests such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or a hearing test. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may also prove useful in diagnosis. If the doctor finds that a dental or jaw problem is causing the symptom, he may refer the sufferer to an oral surgeon or dentist for further tests.

Treatment for tingling ears will depend on the underlying cause of the sensation. The condition is often treated with antibiotics to eliminate an infection, though it can be severe enough to require surgery. While the symptoms can be annoying, the biggest concern of tingling ears is that the condition is often a symptom of a greater problem.

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Discuss this Article

anon359303
Post 2

In my case I feel like there is a bug walking in my ears. I feel the little feet crawling. I have gone to the doctor and he found nothing.

Truncated
Post 1

I get tingling ears sometimes and this usually means I have an ear infection. My ear doesn't hurt during an infection as the infection bypasses the outer and middle ear. This means that my main symptom is really bad vertigo and dizziness as the infection impacts my sense of balance. Sea sickness medication helps in the short term before the antibiotics kick in.

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