Outer ear pain while sleeping


My mother has developed what seems like very sensitive ears lately. I mean she has been using the same pillow for years. It is an orthopaedic pillow for her neck coz she has arthritis and she has never complained about it. But lately, she cannot stand the pain on her outer ears when she sleeps on this pillow. It seems the pressure is hurting her ears and they becomed red and swollen. She changed her pillow to a very soft one but the same happened. What is strange is that sometimes she does not feel this pain at all for several days and she always sleeps on her side. But then the pain comes back on both ears. Anyone had this and is there a solution?

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I too have this ear pain and have not found an explanation. It is only my outer ear. I read on one website (sorry, don't remember which) that some believe it is related to circulation. I am wondering if this may be a good explanation. I am five months pregnant and my ears have been worse since becoming pregnant. I often sleep on my right side, which doctors recommend not to when pregnant because of circulation. Though I try not too, I often wake up on my right side with my ear throbbing. I thank anyone who might have ideas or recommendations. I've tried switching pillows and I'm about to cut a foam circle to place around my ear to hopefully relieve the pressure. Good luck!


This reply is for bertbert3 in particular...I too am pregnant and my outer ear pain has worsened AND affects my left ear as well as my right.

The pain itself occurs when I lay on one side for too long or even if I touch the flat cartilage part near the entrance of my ear canal.

HOWEVER, I've been seeing an acupuncturist twice monthly and it has helped immensely.

The pain used to be manageable with yoga alone before, but I can't do as much with a pregnant body.

Western (or allopathic) medicine doesn't have a real understanding for this problem.

However Eastern medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, Yoga etc) understand the ear soreness to be connected to (or resulting from) discomfort in the spine and lower back.

If you're willing to try acupuncture you might get some relief.


I've had the same problem for 20 years or so. Comes and goes, as well as makes it hard to use most earphones or headphones. I get some relief from using a memory foam pillow for side sleepers. The cost is about $40. SmilingAuthor: thanks for the accupuncture suggestion. That's the one thing I haven't tried!


Thank goodness! I was beginning to wonder if I was dreaming about the terrible throbbing in whichever ear I am lying on, that wakes me up in the night. Although I have suffered with this for some years on and off, since becoming pregnant it occurs every night. I also have similar throbbing in my hips and wondered if anyone else has? I have heard of related back pain which have sometimes suffered as well. Has anyone had any success getting advice from a doctor? I am convinced they think I am making it up. If only I could visit in the middle of the night when the pain is so bad!


I've talked with a few gp's over the years, saw an ENT about it, two dentists, an orthodontist and two TMJ specialists. All I ever get is "Hmmm...I don't know what that is." I keep hoping a physician will be poking around in one of these forums and take an interest in finding out.

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