A lump behind the ear: What Does It Imply?

Lumps found behind the ear seldom cause any symptoms. They are not dangerous if they do not cause any discomfort, such as itching or soreness. They might be brought on by acne or a benign cyst.

Infections can often induce lumps, which require additional attention and treatment in rare cases. Visit your primary care physician or a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment of the swelling that makes you uncomfortable if it does not go away quickly, if it has an uneven shape, or if it grows.

There are a variety of causes that might result in lumps behind the ear. Even though most lumps are harmless, it’s essential to get them checked out just in case they indicate a more severe condition. The lumps behind your ear may be either hard or soft.

Some might be painful to the touch, while others wouldn’t hurt a fly. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might have a lump behind your ear, as well as some possible treatments and the signs that it’s time to contact a doctor.

Bump Behind the Ear: Contributing Factors

A lump behind the ear can be caused by a variety of things, including:

Enlarged lymph glands

When germs and viruses enter the body, they can enlarge the lymph glands, which can result in a lump behind the ear. Pea-sized lymph nodes in this area can cause minimal discomfort if they become inflamed. A skin or ear infection, like otitis media, should cause minor pain and return to its usual size within a few weeks.


Infected skin glands produce microscopic cysts filled with fluid, called skin cysts. Sebaceous cysts on the head, neck, and back are common. Oil is produced when sebaceous glands are obstructed. This is a harmless condition, but it can become infected, red, unpleasant, and swollen if left untreated. Cysts on the skin can change direction.


Teenagers frequently struggle with acne. When the pores and follicles of the skin become blocked with oil and dead skin, comedones can begin to form. This might lead to the development of an inflamed lump behind the ear.


Under the skin, harmless fatty lumps known as lipomas can sometimes develop. It is possible that smaller ones are not felt, but bigger ones manifest as a small, soft, moveable lump that is typically painless. They range in diameter from one to five millimeters. Compared to skin cysts, lipomas can be described as both deeper and softer.


An untreated ear infection can lead to mastoiditis and inflammation of the bone behind the ear, known as the mastoid. This infection affects children more frequently than it does adults, but it is severe and requires treatment with antibiotics and, in some cases, the assistance of an ENT specialist. When pus-filled cysts form behind the affected ear, they can cause lumps to form.


When you are ill, you may discover that there is a lump behind your ear. It’s possible for the lymph nodes located behind your ears to swell up and become aggressive if you have glandular fever or an ear infection. There are a number of other common health problems that can also cause lymph nodes to swell, including the following:

  • Teeth that are infected or impacted.
  • Gum disease.
  • Infections of the upper respiratory tract, such as the flu or other infections
  • Lyme disease
  • Mononucleosis
  • Oral herpes
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Tonsillitis

Natural Remedies

If the problem starts slowly and isn’t too bad, you can treat it at home:

  • Using both hot and cold compresses can help relieve pain and swelling if they are caused by an illness or accident.
  • Medications available over-the-counter: NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin, operate by lowering inflammation in your body to alleviate symptoms including pain, swelling, and redness. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an anti-inflammatory drug that helps reduce fever and pain.
  • If your edoema is caused by an infection, you need to drink more fluids, especially if you also have a fever, so that your body can fight the infection.

When Should You Visit a Medical Professional?

Even while the majority of bumps found behind the ear are perfectly innocuous and will go away on their own without any treatment after a few weeks, you should still consult a doctor if any of the following things happen:

  • The lump has not changed after around two to three weeks.
  • It hurts, or there is discharge coming from the bump.
  • The bulge materialises all of a sudden.
  • The mass grows larger or takes on a different form.
  • Behind the ear, there is a bump that does not move and appears to be “fixed.”
  • There are also other symptoms, such as a temperature, a feeling of being poorly, or a loss of weight.

In most cases, the lump may be diagnosed with a detailed physical examination, and if treatment is required, your physician will recommend antibiotics. Sometimes a node will require more testing, including imaging procedures like X-rays or MRI scans, or a sample will be extracted from it (this procedure is called a biopsy).

Frequently Asked Questions

Does swelling behind the ear pose a danger to one’s health or even life?

This condition is typically not life-threatening and can be treated with common medicines to treat an infection, or it may go away with no intervention at all. Swelling behind the ear, on the other hand, may indicate a significant disease of the mastoid bone. Mastoiditis, an infection of the mastoid bone that can spread to the brain, is a severe medical condition. Consult your doctor right away if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms: extreme pain, high temperature, headache, or confusion.

Will my ear swelling disappear on its own?

Possibly. Your edoema may remain the same, increase, or decrease due to abnormal cell growth. If an infection triggers it, you may have relief while your body fights the illness or by taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. If the condition establishes a pus collection, it may resolve independently, but in most cases, medical drainage is required. Any swelling that persists or worsens requires medical treatment.

Is it possible that an ear infection could cause swelling behind the ear?

Yes. Due to the fact that the middle ear is related to the bone and region behind the ear, ear infections are a significant source of swelling in that region. Ear infections can cause the lymph nodes that are located behind the ear to expand and enlarge, which can give the appearance of having a little bump behind the ear.

Wrapping Up

You may have no idea you have a bump behind your ear. You may develop lumps behind your ears. In the vast majority of cases, the underlying reason is trivial and may be remedied with minimal treatment or will resolve itself with time.

In most cases, more complex treatment modalities are required to combat diseases that appear behind the ear. Schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician as soon as possible if you find a lump behind your ear or if you experience any other symptoms that are out of the ordinary. They can determine the underlying cause of the issue and the best treatment.