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Have you ever felt a lump or swelling behind your ear that you’re certain wasn’t there before? While a bump behind your ear may be cause for alarm, often these are harmless. But what are they and how can you treat them?

What caused my ear lump and how can I treat it?

In some cases, a lump is caused by an abscess or a sebaceous cyst. An abscess is a walled-off infection in the tissue of a particular area of the body. It may respond to antibiotics, although on occasion a drainage procedure may be necessary. A sebaceous cyst is when epithelial components that produce keratin are trapped under the skin, forming a cyst that is filled with white, cheese-like material.

Frequently, infections involving the ear or sinuses can lead to an inflamed or swollen lymph node behind the ear. These can be viral, although most are due to a bacterial infection, especially ear infections in children. Most of these infections respond to antibiotics or treatment, but some may persist. If they are of less than two centimeters, though, they are of no concern.

Another cause is a lipoma – or lump of fatty tissue – although those are rare in this area of the body.

In less common cases, a lump behind or around the ear may be a tumor involved the parotid gland. Most of these are benign, although approximately 20 percent are malignant. These usually present either just below the ear or in front of the ear, though.

Self-checking an ear lump

ENT doctor Timothy Kelly, MD

Feeling around your ear is a good way to help determine what the lump might be. For example, if it is soft, it is probably a lipoma or something benign. If it is hard, grows quickly, or is fixed, it is possibly something worrisome, CEENTA ENT doctor Timothy Kelly, MD, said.

If it is tender or painful, it is most likely an infection – either an inflamed lymph node or an abscess. Associated symptoms, such as fever or chills, may also raise the concern of an infection.

Of course, seeing a physician is best, especially if the lump persists or has worrisome characteristics. Usually, reassurance is all that is needed, however, an evaluation, especially early in the course, may allow treatment of a more serious condition when it is still curable.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Kelly sees patients in our Fort Mill and Rock Hill offices. To make an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

 


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Comments

March 22, 2021

Can’t believe some of the comments here...please check with the doctors as soon as possible it can be life dangerous or simple and requires medication ... Good luck you all -find doctor near you!!!
- Oq

February 26, 2021

Hi I've found a lump beside down the bottom of my ear lobe and I'm a bit concerned about it what would it be?
- Denise

March 01, 2021

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please visit www.ceenta.com/appointments
Reply From: CEENTA

February 20, 2021

i have this small lump behind my ear and behind the front of my neck it causes me headaches and sometimes feel numbness on the side of where the lump is but no pain when i put pressure on it it’s just tough
- malachi

February 22, 2021

Good morning. We urge you to visit a doctor for an official diagnosis. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 23, 2020

Hi! Good day sir, I have lump behind the ear it is long time that I carry this and sometimes more my friends asking me of what is that lump behind your ears??and sometimes they bullying me...it is hard but not hurt when I'm going to pushed it... My question is it have a treatment or medicine to take to out these?? I'm from philippines I hope you help me sir.. Because I'm irritate when my friend ask me.and bully me
- Marvin Gorit

November 23, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patient cases without one of our doctors seeing them. We recommend you make an appointment with a local doctor for an examination. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 19, 2020

Hi, I have gotten my ears pierced in July, and there were few occasions of infection. And now I have a lump behind my ear next to my piercing. It’s quite big about 0.5cm, is there a way I can self cure this?? Thank you!!
- Haeun Lee

November 19, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients' cases without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 03, 2020

i am having lump below my ear now i just noticed it today and it is small cause a small pain what is the method to remove this and i am 12 year old please help
- Steve Shaju

November 03, 2020

Good morning. Unfortunately, we can't diagnose individual patients without first seeing them. We recommend asking your parents to make you an appointment with your doctor. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region, please all 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

October 30, 2020

I had a lump behind my ear and is about two inches now at first it felt soft and squishy I would randomly get shooting pain. But now is harden like a rock n I’m worry is something bad
- Jess

November 02, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 30, 2020

I’ve had this lump that’s a little bit smaller then a pea On my ear and it’s been there for 2 years I think and it hasn’t changed but one day I got stitches in my ear and after I got stitches I got the lump so i don’t know if it has something to do with that
- Carlos

June 30, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte, NC region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 18, 2020

I live In Massachusetts do bbn I just need advise.. behind my ear is a grain of rice size bump under the skin it's hard like a rock and white its been there a long time years never grew.. but one time I did scratch it it bleed like crazy .. should I have a dr look at it or just leave it
- Rhonda

May 19, 2020

Good morning. If you have any concerns about your health, we recommend you see a doctor.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 15, 2020

I have a hard lump behind my ear which was there a month ago then it’s slowly reduced but suddenly it appeared again out of know where .
- Rehan Fernando

May 18, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose a patient's particular case without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an in-person appointment, or you live in the United States and would like a virtual visit, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 11, 2020

I have two painless hard lumps behind my ear and one just under my ear near my jaw but they aren’t growing in size should I be worried at all
- Bekah

May 11, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an in-person appointment, or you live anywhere in the United States and want a virtual visit, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 13, 2020

I have a very painful hard lump below my right ear on my jaw line , I have had it for 3 days , but had no colds or anything , should I be worried thanks j mcguire
- Julie mcguire

April 13, 2020

Good morning. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like to request a virtual visit with one of our physicians, please call 704-295-3003. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 12, 2020

I have an outgrowth behind my ear.It is so panic to touch.I don't knw what it really is .Also lock down due to corona virus is continue .Due to this I can't go out to consult doctor .what I must do?
- TAHIRA AKRAM

April 13, 2020

Good morning. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like to request a virtual appointment, please call 704-295-3003. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

February 02, 2020

I note 2 lumps one bihend my ear and another next to it is not pain full is hard is being there allmost a one year am getting worried.
- Adaly

February 03, 2020

Good morning. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 24, 2020

I have little dime size lumps on both legs they are not visible and neither or them are painful what could these little dime size lumps be also I started noticing them when I turned 40 yes old last year .
- Tauna Crook

January 27, 2020

Good morning. We recommend making an appointment with your primary care physician. Our practice does not specialize in skin or leg conditions.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 18, 2020

I have been to the doctor and refused to be given a prescription for antibiotics my ears are pulling and the lymph nodes are plugging the hole in my ears and it pain fault I am going to pull out the lymph node and send them down the drain if I don't get some answers now
- Larry Balliger

January 20, 2020

Good morning. We strongly recommend not performing any procedures on yourself. If you live in the Charlotte area and would like a second opinion from a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

December 19, 2019

I've had this lump on my ear 2weeks now, it's gotten a lil bit swollen around the lump like down my neck now. It hurts now and I can't sleep on my left side anymore. It's firm to touch and when I lean over into my dresser it hurts also as my head is down. What's happening
- Yvonne

December 19, 2019

Good afternoon. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them, but if you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with one of our doctors, they would be happy to see you. You can make an appointment by calling 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

December 14, 2019

How to treat it need Dr for it near me, I'm at Mpumalanga secunda SA
- Busi

December 16, 2019

Good morning. The best way to treat it is to get a diagnosis from a doctor so you know exactly what is causing the lump. Unfortunately, we can't diagnose patients or offer treatments without seeing them in person.
Reply From: CEENTA

December 11, 2019

I have benign lymph under my ear for 3 years now and its has grown since should I be worried ?
- Mr khan

December 12, 2019

Good morning. We cannot diagnose patients without seeing them in person, so we highly recommend you make an appointment with a doctor. If you live in the Charlotte area and would like an appointment at CEENTA, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

October 28, 2019

Is it abnormal for there to be approx. 5 bumps behind the left ear. They are tender to the touch but only one feels kinda hard.
- John Lane

October 29, 2019

Good morning. We cannot diagnose patients' individual cases without seeing them, so we recommend you make an appointment with your doctor. To schedule an appointment at CEENTA, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

September 30, 2019

Please advise on treatment of lump behind ear of 4 years old
- Lerato

September 30, 2019

Good afternoon. We recommend you bring your child to a doctor for a complete diagnosis. We are unable to diagnose patients over the Internet.
Reply From: CEENTA

August 31, 2019

I just now noticed a dime sized hard tender and very painful lump just under my ear lobe and maybe a half inch above my jaw line. It wasnt there last night so some time today is when it popped up. Should I be concerned or....??
- JL

September 03, 2019

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual cases without seeing the patient in person. We recommend you make an appointment with your doctor for an examination. If you would like to make one at CEENTA, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 31, 2019

I was having my check up today and positive for lump . I know its minor but still worried . This coming wednesday is my minor operation . Thank you for this details .
- Charie Mae Pales

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