Besides learning how to say I have an earache in Spanish and how to say my ears are clogged in Spanish, you will also learn to avoid a very common mistake that native English speakers make when learning Spanish. A couple of weeks ago, I was in a “farmacia” (drug store) in Medellín, Colombia and there was an American in the “farmacia” who was explaining his condition to the pharmacist so that the pharmacist could recommend something to alleviate it.
By the way, there is something very interesting that I have noticed about Latin American culture. Unlike the States, you can often go to a pharmacist in Latin America and explain your medical condition and the pharmacist will provide you with a medication that would normally require a doctor’s “receta” (prescription) in the States.
The American in the “farmacia” was trying to explain that his ears were clogged and that that he had an ear ache. And I heard him INCORRECTLY say the following two phrases when explaining his condition to the pharmacist.
Mis orejas están tapadas.
Me duele la oreja.
The first phrase is not the correct way to say “my ears are clogged.” And the second phrase is not the correct way to say “I have an ear ache.”
It is a very common mistake for English speakers to refer to any part of the ear as the “oreja” when speaking Spanish. That’s because in English the word ear can refer to two different things:
1. The external part of the body that is attached to the head
2. The organ of hearing
But in Spanish there are two different words for ear:
oreja – the external part of the body that is attached to the head
oído – the organ of hearing
“Oído” can also refer to the sense of hearing.
How To Say My Ears are Clogged In Spanish
So if the American wanted to say “my ears are clogged” he should have said:
Mis oídos están tapados.
How To Say I Have an Earache In Spanish
And if he wanted to say, “I have an ear ache” then he should have said:
Me duele el oído.
Of course, if his outer ear was hurting him — as opposed to the organ of hearing — then it would make sense to say:
Me duele la oreja.
But since he was complaining to the pharmacist that his ears were clogged, it is safe to assume that he meant the former.
I wanted to mention this common mistake so that you don’t ever make this same mistake. It may also come in handy knowing that when traveling or living in Latin America you can often directly obtain medication from a pharmacist that would normally require a doctor’s prescription in the States.