Bump behind the ear – causes, treatment

Bump behind the ear

Bumps behind the ear are swellings in the back of the ear muscles. They occur as a result of an allergic reaction, an injury, blocked sebaceous glands or a tumor and can cause various accompanying symptoms and secondary problems. If they are treated early, however, they are not a problem and subside after a few days.

What are bumps in the ear?

Bumps behind the ear are swellings or elevations that form primarily on the back of the ear muscles or in the area of ​​the pinna . The bumps develop slowly and increase in size over the course of days or weeks. As a result of the swelling, pain , burning or general fever symptoms manifest themselves, depending on the cause . Many sufferers initially mistake the bump for a pimple or follicle and attempt to drain the cyst .

This can cause the bump to become inflamed and cause an abscess . Bumps behind the ear need to be diagnosed and treated quickly to rule out further discomfort or major complications. In addition to medical treatment measures such as surgical opening of the bump or the use of painkillers, various home remedies such as cooling or warm pads are used. Bumps behind the ear can be effectively prevented by regular check-ups and by avoiding dangerous situations.


A bump behind the ear can have many different causes. The swelling is often caused by a swollen lymph node that has become inflamed as a result of a cold or infection. The pathogens that can cause such swelling include the Epstein-Barr virus or streptococci . Toothache can also cause swelling around the ear , causing a lump.

In children and adolescents, a bump behind the ear is often caused by mastoiditis, which can be caused by a delayed middle ear infection or a deformity. Painless bumps can result from clogged oil glands. Another possible cause is skin tumors or a disease of the lymph glands . If the bump cannot be moved and is painful when touched, it may be due to lymph node cancer . Finally, a bump can also be caused by an insect bite, an injury, or a skin irritation. For these causes, a decrease in swelling can usually be seen within a few days.

diseases with this symptom


Bumps behind the ear are usually harmless. Serious complications only occur if the swelling is not treated or is inadequately treated. The bump can then increase in size and cause severe pain, inflammation or circulatory problems . When infected, the bump fills with pus . This increases the pain and can lead to perforation of the surrounding tissue, which in the worst case can result in blood poisoning .

An untreated tumor increases in size and forms metastases in the neighboring regions. The further the cancer progresses, the less likely it is that you will make a full recovery. Finally, the typical symptoms appear, i.e. malaise , weight loss , organ dysfunction and chronic pain . This is often accompanied by psychological symptoms such as depression or anxiety .

If there is an underlying injury, infection can also occur. Scars or sensory disturbances can also remain. In rare cases, the injury behind the ear also affects hearing or there are accompanying symptoms such as concussion and internal bleeding.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the bump behind the ear persists for more than a few days or is causing severe discomfort, the general practitioner should be consulted. In general, it is best to see a doctor for evaluation of swellings and bumps that have no known cause or are causing other symptoms.

This is necessary above all if the symptoms severely impair well-being or have other effects on health. If a bump develops as a result of an insect bite , it is best to see a doctor right away. Medical advice is also required in the event of allergies or injuries, because if left untreated, the bump can become inflamed and cause serious complications.

If the bumps get bigger within a short period of time or if there is a throbbing pain, medical support is necessary. The same applies if the swelling causes hearing problems, significantly affects well-being or bleeds. Depending on the cause, an internist, allergist or ENT doctor can be consulted in addition to the general practitioner.


A bump behind the ear is usually noticed by those affected, who then consult a doctor. The doctor will conduct a careful examination, palpating the cyst. The physical examination often provides information about possible causes and enables targeted treatment.

If no clear trigger can be found by skin inspection, a biopsy is performed. The doctor removes tissue, which is then examined for any degeneration. Other diagnostic methods used for unusual swelling or lumps include blood tests to check protein and electrolyte levels, X-rays , CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging . Depending on the assumption, the heart , kidneys , liver and immune system are also examined.

Accompanying the physical examination, a comprehensive patient interview is held, which provides information about any previous illnesses or risk factors. Often the patient can remember an allergic reaction or injury, which makes it much easier to determine the cause. However, if the bump appears for no apparent reason, the above diagnostic procedures must be performed. Depending on the suspected cause, the outlook and prognosis can be made.

Treatment & Therapy

Actions the doctor takes to treat a bump behind the ear depends on the cause. A middle ear infection is treated with antibiotics and painkillers . In addition, the infection must be carefully monitored in order to be able to detect a worsening of the symptoms at an early stage. If an allergy is present, the doctor prescribes appropriate antidotes (such as antihistamines ) and recommends rest to the patient.

If you have not already done so, an allergy test will be carried out to determine the triggering allergen. The doctor will also give the patient tips on what to do in the event of another allergic reaction. If the bump is due to a tumor, measures such as radiation and chemotherapy , surgery or medication can be used. Most tumors are treated in a hospital. A blocked sebaceous gland can be opened directly in the doctor’s office. The doctor will open and drain the bump with a scalpel or sterilized needle.

The affected area is then disinfected and the patient is given a mild painkiller. Larger bumps may require surgical opening to prevent damage to the ear canals or tissue. Bumps that develop as a result of an injury usually go away on their own. The doctor will prescribe a mild remedy for the pain and recommend general measures such as cooling and strict hygiene. After one to two weeks, a further examination is carried out to determine whether the swelling has completely receded. If this is not the case, a new diagnosis must be made.

Outlook & Forecast

A bump behind the ear is usually not a problem. The swelling is often caused by a relatively harmless inflammation or a blocked sebaceous gland. Causes of this type can be quickly remedied with suitable therapeutic measures, and the bump will disappear completely after a few days or weeks. The prognosis is worse if the bump is due to a tumor.

In the worst case, metastasis can occur. If the course is severe, metastases form in the internal organs and there is a risk of death. Even an untreated middle ear infection can cause complications, such as hearing loss , superinfection or falls due to balance disorders .

In general, however, the prospects for recovery are good. If the bump behind the ear is examined early and treated depending on the cause, relief of the symptoms can be achieved quickly. Long-term consequences or a severe impairment of the quality of life are not to be expected.


Allergy sufferers can prevent a bump behind the ear by avoiding contact with insects. In addition, those affected should always carry emergency medication with them, which can be used directly in the event of a sting. Good personal hygiene prevents clogged sebum glands and the development of pimples and bumps. People who keep noticing swelling should ask their family doctor or a dermatologist about suitable care products.

A specific gel or ointment may also be responsible for causing the bumps. A complaints diary helps to identify and eliminate possible causes. In principle, skin changes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Anyone who eats a balanced diet, gets enough sleep and strengthens the immune system through exercise and spending time outdoors already significantly reduces the risk of developing cancer . Any degeneration can be detected and treated at an early stage through regular check-ups.

You can do that yourself

A bump behind the ear should first be examined by a doctor. Depending on the cause the doctor diagnoses, there are a few things patients can do themselves to help speed recovery. If the bump is due to an allergic reaction, sufficient cooling and warmth will help. Immediately after the allergic reaction, the affected area should be cooled with ice cubes or a cold spray.

After the redness has subsided, warm cherry pit pillows or packets can be applied. A pain-relieving ointment such as calendula ointment or aloe vera ointment relieves feelings of tension and reduces pain. Swelling can also be reduced with herbal tea, quark, soothing baths, oils and other home remedies for swelling. If the bump is caused by blocked oil glands, gentle massage can help loosen the skin behind the ear.

Zugsalbe supports the maturation of the bump, which should break up after a few days with appropriate care. If a tumor is the cause, general measures can be taken, such as changing the diet, exercising and avoiding stress. After an operation, the affected area must be treated according to the doctor’s instructions. If, despite all measures, further symptoms appear, the doctor must be informed.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.