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What Causes Shooting Ear Pain & Ringing?

author image Jae Allen
Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.
What Causes Shooting Ear Pain & Ringing?
Shooting pains and ringing in the ear may be signs of an ear infection.

Sharp pains that feel as though they are shooting through the ear can be caused by pressure in the sinuses and ear, or by an ear infection. Ringing sounds can also indicate infection or an ear trauma due to loud noise. Make sure to see your own doctor if your ear symptoms persist: the information below is not intended to be taken as medical advice.

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Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing or noise in the ears. According to, tinnitus can be a symptom of a problem with your circulatory system. It also may occur due to an ear injury or hearing loss associated with aging. Treatments for tinnitus will either address such an underlying cause, or will aim to block or mask the ringing sound. If you are a musician or work in a high-noise environment, it is important to wear adequate hearing protection. This will help stop the development of noise-related tinnitus and ear pain.


Ringing in the ears can be a sign of an overdose from one of several substances. According to MedlinePlus, a large overdose of aspirin can cause ringing in the ears and temporary deafness. A range of other drugs and substances can cause ear pain and ringing if you take an overdose. These include ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, acetominophen and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug fenoprofen.

Ear Infection

Although ear infections are more common in children than in adults, it is possible for a person of any age to suffer an ear infection. Possible symptoms associated with an ear infection include sharp or shooting pains, and temporary hearing loss or ringing in the ear. MedlinePlus states that infections of the outer or middle ear typically involve earache. Treatments for ear infections include corticosteroids for the inflammation and any itchiness, painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain, and vinegar drops to combat the infection.

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