Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Are my son's allergies causing his earache?"


My son has some seasonal allergies and nasal congestion, but now he is complaining that his ears hurt too. Are the allergies causing his earache? Could he get and infection in his ears from his allergies?


Yes, the allergies could quite possibly be causing his ears to hurt. This is because of the way that kids, and all of us, are built. The back of the nose, where all of his mucous and allergic products hopefully drain, is also the place where the ears drain.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Ear nose-throat-doctors near you

The ears drain through the eustachian tube into the same area, and so the openings of the tubes are subject to the same allergens that the nose is subjected to. As they are lined with the same tissue as the nose, they will also react in a similar manner, meaning that they will swell. Additionally, the chronic inflammation of having snot pour over the opening will make them swell even more. Finally, kids have bigger tonsils and adenoids (which adenoids also lie at the back of the nose and can often obstruct the outflow of snot, making it drain out the front). When allergies happen, the adenoids are also prone to swelling for the same reason. Whether because of inflammation at the opening or inflammation causing the adenoids to swell, the end product is obstruction of the eustachian tube opening, which leads to fluid backing up in the ears, causing aural fullness and pain. Please speak to your doctor about your problem and ways to fix it.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.