Ear Numbness And Tingling Symptoms: Causes Of Numbness In Ears

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.
  • ¬†Dizziness.
  • One sided pain in the face in cranial nerve disease such as trigeminal neuralgia with numbness in the ear.
  • Vision difficulty.
  • Facial numbness.


  1. LE said:

    I have a clogged right ear due to having TMJ. Also had a virus infection which left me with tinnitus, neuralgia, and fatigue. I drink a lot of water as I read somewhere it can clear the mucus out of the ears also have pain in my left ear. I accidently pushed an object too far down in ear canal which has resulted pain in left eardrum. Hope someone who reads this can help.

    August 28, 2012
    • PUP said:

      As you have inserted an object inside the ear canal, there is a chance of infection in the middle ear. The best way is to consult an ENT specialist. Take a pinch of turmeric and a teaspoon of honey once or twice in a day as a natural home remedy. Turmeric is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It will help to relieve pain to some extent.

      August 29, 2012
  2. KK said:

    My right ear has become numb since 2 days. There is no sensation of tingling, but only numbness. What can it be?

    June 6, 2015
    • PUP said:

      Numb feeling in ear can be caused due to damage to the sensory nerve. There can be many reasons. If you have injured your ear, you may have this feeling. Onset of cold may also give numb sensation in the ear. If both this problems are ruled out, you may have to consult an ENT specialist, especially if the numbness persists for long duration.

      June 8, 2015
  3. Jamie said:

    I have a cold but nothing too major. Though I did have a long week. I drove from Florida to Virginia and back and it was raining there and cold. Once getting back home I was extremely tired and fell asleep on my side for about 6 hours in the same position. When I awoke I could not hear. My ear felt very different and feels clogged and muffle. My cold has worsen I have a stuffy nose, a lot of congestion and my face and ear is numb.

    Yesterday I put peroxide in it and both times it cleared but came back. Last night I put baby oil, peroxide and warm water for 5 minutes, it never drained down into my ear but just sat on top. I am taking cold medicines, putting warm compresses on it. But I am becoming worried because I really can only hear about 50%.

    January 29, 2017
  4. Mil said:

    For years I have had pus in ear lobes and removed by pressing on them. Last time (October) it left me with right lobe tingling and then later on with tingling numbness on right jaw/cheek. Had MRI and doctor said only age-related change in my spine. When I asked him about the tingling (reason for MRI), he knew nothing about that and asked that I come in again, which I will do, I am to go in to see him on 22 Feb.

    February 8, 2017
  5. Wonder said:

    I was ill back in December and my ears have remained numb inside. There is no pain just an uncomfortable pressure. It has been this way for several months after this cold. I thought it may be ear wax. I tried peroxide but that did not work. So I tried OTC ear drops and that did not work either. After that I tried irrigation of ear canal but the symptoms are back this afternoon. At a loss as to what could be the cause. I have read about stress. I do have a stressful job. Can somebody please help me?

    May 14, 2017
  6. AB said:

    I have intermittent tingling in my left ear. It is superficial on the outside of the ear. Sometimes there is tingling sensation on left side of my head too.

    December 8, 2017
    • PUP said:

      Ear numbness and tingling sensation can be caused due to damage to the sensory nerve supplying ear skin. It can occur due to many causes such as ear injury, diabetes, common cold, exposure to too much cold or heat, stroke etc. If the problem is persisting, you must consult your medical practitioner since there are many attributing causes. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the cause after examination.

      August 16, 2018

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