by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady asked:
I’d like to know if nerve damage can cause loss of sense of pain, say from ear infections. There are times when I have water in my ears, and don’t realize it until I use my hearing aids.
Good question. Let me explain. Nerves have specific functions. Some carry pain signals from pain sensors. Some carry signals for muscle movement. Others carry the sensations from one of our five senses.
In this case, the auditory nerve is just that. Its has only one function–sending hearing related signals to and from our ears to the brains.
It is not a pain sensor nerve, nor does it control the tiny muscles in the middle ear. So, having “nerve” deafness (which is really a misnomer in almost all cases–the proper term is sensorineural hearing loss) will not affect the sense of pain in your ears. That job is relegated to other nerves.