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Ear Pain After Running: Causes & Solutions

What would you say is the worst type of pain to experience? Is it Leg pain, arm pain, or perhaps, muscle pain? Although they can be severe, there is also another type of pain that is so severe that it will have you crying in agony, and that is ear pain.

Everybody at some point or another has experienced the dreaded ear pain. It comes suddenly with no warning making you wonder what you did wrong in life to deserve it.

But it is even worse when you are going on a nice run and suddenly receive a pang in your ear that will stop you in your tracks. So, how do you fix it?

Key Takeaways


  • Ear pain while running can be caused by listening to loud music with headphones or earphones on. To not experience pain, lower the volume to 70 decimals.
  • Ear pain while running can be caused by cold temperatures. Wear a hat or earmuffs for protection.
  • Jaw and teeth clenching causes ear pain through the nerves.
  • Dilated blood vessels may cause ear pain caused by damage to the hair cells.
  • Built-up mucus in the ear caused by a cold causes ear pain.

Ear pain causes: What can it be?

Ear pain after running can be caused by many different things, things that we have implemented into our daily lives that lead to painful inconveniences such as loud music, cold temperatures, clenching your teeth, dilated blood vessels, or mucus built up. To fix ear pain, we need to discover the root of the problem, and what causes it.

Also Read: Is It Safe To Run After Leg Workout

Loud music

Many people nowadays listen to music while they go outside. The world seems empty when you do not have anything to jam out to while you are driving to work, going to school, and especially when you are doing your running workout.

Although music gives you the motivation to continue running, too loud music can be extremely damaging to your precious ears because it causes pain.

The sensory receptive cells in your inner ear, which are the hair cells, have a remarkably interesting function, and that is, commencing hearing.

Without them, we would not be able to hear, but sadly, since many people enjoy listening to loud music with headphones or earphones on, the hair cells get so overstimulated that ear pain starts to thrive, which will eventually lead to hearing loss.

Pro Tip:  To avoid unnecessary ear pain from loud music, try lowering the music down to the appropriate loudness that our ears are meant to handle, this is usually under 70 decibels.

Cold temperatures

When you are feeling the cold temperatures, which part of the body would you say feels the cold first? Because you would be surprised to know that the nerves in our ears feel cold faster than the other parts of the body.

This explains why your ears get naturally red in Winter when you are exposed to chilly wind or snow. That being said, this also leads to frequent ear pain as well, if your ears are not protected.

Pro Tip: Ear pain is even more frequent if you are running in cold temperatures, so protect your ears by putting on a hat or some earmuffs that will keep your ears warm and safe from the cold.

Clenching your teeth

Clenching your teeth may cause muscle tension in the jaw which will lead to ear pain. The reason for this is that the jaw joints are located close to the ears and since all the body parts are connected through nerves, the jaw tension will transition into the ears making them hurt.

Pro Tip: Do exercises to relax and soothe the jaw muscles from the teeth clenching. Clenching is usually caused by an overwhelming amount of stress, so listening to more soothing music while you massage your jaw can also work.

And if all else fails. Buying a bite splint would be the best decision to make since it will help you stop the bad habit of teeth and jaw clenching.

Also Read: Should You Run Without Moving Arms

Dilated blood vessels

Another reason we should stay away from harming our hair cells is. Blood vessels that are dilated or even worse, liquid coming out of your ear, is usually a sign that an infection has taken its place in your ear.

The cause of this type of symptom is the irritation of the hair cells in the middle ear that is caused by too much ear going into the ear, heavy workouts resulting in muscle straining, water going into the ear, loud music as well as a fatal hit to the head.

Pro Tip: There is no way to avoid this symptom if it already started to take its form, so, the best option would be to pay a visit to the otolaryngologist’s office for a checkup. Because you never know, simple ear pain may cause something worse to happen in the long run.

Mucus built up

If you are constantly running in cold weather and suddenly the weather becomes warmer, the sudden temperature change may cause the body to experience sickness, and with every sickness comes a runny nose. The built-up mucus that is stored in the nose can be transferred into the ears; the mucus built up in the ears will then cause ear pain.

Pro Tip: When you get in contact with mucus built up, the safest thing to do is to use a humidifier which will give you moisture, and will also help with the infectious ear pain. Cleaning your ear wax during this time is also crucial. The area needs to be clean so the infection can go away quicker. And if you are in fact sick and do not want to experience ear pain as a cause of the sickness, using nasal spray will work wonders. It will unclog your stuffy nose, making you breathe normally again, and it will save you the trouble of experiencing mucus built up in the ear.

Also Read: How To Recover When Falling While Running

Final Thoughts

I know how painful ear pain can be, I have been there too, and I can honestly say that I never want to experience it ever again. And with this guide, I hope that I have helped you avoid the dreadful situation of waking up and deciding to go for a run, only to realize mid-run that you are experiencing ear pain. And if you could not avoid it, then I hope it helped you cure it.