Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
When talking about lump behind ear it is usually referring to a localized area of swelling or protuberance that can occur anywhere on your ear, which can include your ear lobe, behind your ear, and your ear canal.
These lumps can be painless or painful, single or multiple lumps, soft or firm, and big or small in size. These lumps will rarely grow larger than the size of a pea. These lumps may not change in size or they may grow rapidly or slowly.
They are also a common occurrence and can be associated with many different causes. Other terms that are sometimes used to describe lump behind ear are cyst, bump, tumor, and nodule.
Symptoms of Lump Behind Ear
The symptoms that can be associated with lump behind ear will depend on what the underlying condition, disease, or disorder is causing it.
There are even certain conditions that cause these lumps behind ear to involve other body systems.
Some of the localized symptoms that you could get with lump behind ear can include:
- Discharge or pus
- Pain or tenderness
- Swelling, redness, or warmth
A lump behind ear may also accompany symptoms that are related to other body systems. Some of the other symptoms may include:
- Fever and chills
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Weight loss that is unexplainable
There may even be a case where a lump behind ear with symptoms that could indicate a serious or life-threatening situation which would need to be evaluated immediately in the emergency room if you cannot get into see your physician immediately.
Some of these serious or life-threatening symptoms can include:
- A change in the mental status or a sudden change in behavior like delirium, hallucinations, confusion, delusions, and lethargy
Uncontrollable or profuse bleeding
- A change in the level of alertness or consciousness like being unresponsive or passing out.
There are many different reasons a person might have lump behind ear. Some of the general and most usual causes of lump behind ear include:
Swollen lymph nodes
If the lymph nodes behind your ear swell you may see a lump the size of a pea which is filled with molecules and white blood cells of your immune system.
The lump will usually be tender and soft and at times could be painful. You may also feel fatigued and run a fever. These are normally a sign of an infection like strep throat, bacterial and viral sinusitis, cat-scratch disease, parasitic infections, etc.
This is an infection of your mastoid bone which is a honeycomb –like structure that is present behind your ear and is filled with air spaces. If you have a middle ear infection it could spread to your mastoid bone and lead to structural disruptions and inflammation.
There are a variety of cancer that can occur in the region behind your ear that can cause lump behind ear such as salivary gland cancer, skin cancers, lymphomas, etc. If this is the cause the lump behind ear the growth, or lump, will increase in size and are usually painless
Although the lump behind the ear may not be caused by anything serious it is still advisable to see your physician check the lump out to rule out anything serious.
If it is something of a serious nature your physician can treat it possibly avoiding complications later on. In many cases they will disappear on their own after a short period of time.
Swollen lymph nodes – if this is the cause you should see your physician to see what the cause is. You may be given antibiotics along with analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication if is a bacterial infection. If it is a parasitic infection the physician may give you broad-spectrum antibiotics and specific anti-parasitic medications.
Mastoiditis – if this is the cause your physician would most likely admit you to the hospital so you can receive intravenous antibiotics and oral antibiotics.
To help promote drainage you would also be given ear drops. There are certain cases where you may have to have surgical treatment to remove part of the mastoid bone to drain the purulent fluid. If it is being caused by a middle ear infection you may have to have surgical drainage of your middle ear.
Cancer – the treatment used would depend on the type of cancer and what stage it is along with what size of the lump. The lump behind ear can include the destruction of the cancerous growths by radiation, surgical excision, chemotherapy, or chemicals.
Lump behind Ear Pictures
Pictures collection of lump behind ear…