When the sensory nerves supplying the ear get damaged it gives a numb feeling in the ear. As the name suggests, sensory nerves supply to the skin surface in different parts of the body. Any type of sensation whether hot, cold etc. can be felt by the body due to this nerve. A damaged sensory nerve of the ear may not be able to perceive sensation or it can perceive it partially giving a numb feeling. Ear numbness can occur all over the ear or in certain part of the ear.
In the beginning there may be a feeling of pricking of needles and pins or a tingling sensation all over the ear or in certain area of the ear. This condition is called paresthesia. To start with, there may be tingling sensation which eventually results into ear numbness.
Damage to the sensory nerve of ear can occurs due to underlying medical cause or due to an injury to the ear or compression of the sensory nerve. If a person has ear numbness and tingling, he should not ignore the condition and seek immediate medical attention.
What Causes Numbness In Ears?
Ear numbness is a symptom which occurs due to many conditions, following are some of the common causes of ear numbness.
- Ear injury: It is the most common condition for ear numbness. It can be a major injury to the ear such as a cut with a sharp object or a direct blow to the ear or a simple ear piercing. The sensory nerve gets damaged which may produce a tingling and burning sensation in the beginning. After a period of time the feeling of numbness may supersede both tingling and burning sensation.
- Peripheral neuropathy: It is damage to the peripheral nerves giving rise to symptoms such as burning, tingling, numbness in different parts of the body and the ear is no exception. Severe injury to the ear, systemic disease, infections, and environmental exposure to toxins are some of the causes for peripheral neuropathy.
- Stroke: Brain stroke results when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted due to hemorrhage in the brain blood vessels or due to ischemia. The accompanying symptoms of brain stroke are numbness on face, dizziness, slurred speech, vision difficulty, paralysis of one part of the body, etc. Ear numbness can be one of the symptoms of stroke.
- Common cold and infection in the ear can also cause numb feeling in the ear.
- Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes or poorly controlled diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy giving rise to tingling and numbness in extremities and on the face including the ears.
- Compression of the cranial nerves due to trauma or due to any growth can cause numbness on the face and ears.
Symptoms Of Ear Numbness And Tingling
As ear numbness and tingling is a symptom in itself of various causes, they may be helpful in diagnosis and treatment of various underlying conditions. Ear numbness and tingling symptom can have many other associated symptoms relating to that particular disease.
The following are some of the symptoms associated with ear numbness tingling.
- Lack of sensation in the ear.
- Tingling and burning sensation in the ear.
- Pus or watery discharge.
- Running nose or blocked nose.
- Buzzing in the ear.
- Increased perspiration, thirst, and sweating, tingling in other parts of the body in case of diabetes.
- One sided pain in the face in cranial nerve disease such as trigeminal neuralgia with numbness in the ear.
- Vision difficulty.
- Facial numbness.