1. There can be some wax against the ear drum that is causing pressure and would have gotten worse if water saturated it.
2. TMJ is an inflammation of the joint between the skull and the jaw, and if that is irritated, it will present with ear pain.
3. If the eustachian tube (drainage tube between the ear and the nose) is intermittently blocked, it can cause some ear discomfort without actually causing an ear infection or ear fluid.
Conditioning with white noise at night may help. Apps are available that produce white noise, for the iPhone or android.
Cotton balls coated with Vaseline may be more comfortable than earplugs even if not as effective in reducing noise exposure. They may however be better tolerated than traditional earplugs.
Finally, auditory integration training is a somewhat controversial mode of therapy for this problem, but you may want to search for a provider in your area, and discuss the situation with them.
I wish you well.