oa South African Medical Journal - Referred pain in the ear and aural reflexes



Attention is drawn to the phenomenon of pain referred to the ear from distant lesions. The various nervous arcs through which the reflex may be transmitted are indicated briefly. The great value of this reflex as an index of hidden disease is not sufficiently appreciated and a plea is made for a thorough ear, nose and throat examination in any case of persistent unilateral otalgia. Referred pain in the ear may be a rare presenting symptom of carcinoma of the lung. Stimuli may pass with facility in either direction through that particular reflex arc consisting of branches of the vagus so that while lesions in the areas supplied by the vagus may give rise to pain in the ear, conversely, any fret of the external auditory canal may initiate a cough, nausea, or even changes in cardiac rhythm.


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