Bleeding from the ear can be an upsetting symptom. The causes can range from relatively benign to more serious conditions that require medical attention. Let’s examine some of the more common causes as well as your treatment options.
These are common and often minor injuries that can cause your ear to only bleed a few drops. The bleeding can come from:
- Small, superficial cuts in the ear from shaving or scraping yourself while putting on headphones or glasses.
- Pimples in your ear, which can be caused by acne, rash, dermatitis or an illness like chicken pox.
- Scratching at a scab in your ear from a previous wound.
Trauma to the ear can range from mild to severe. For example, attempting to clean your ear using a cotton swab can cause injury and bleeding, but it’s typically minor. In contrast, a more serious injury caused by a blow to the ear or head can cause serious consequences like a ruptured eardrum, skull fracture, or even bleeding in the brain.
A ruptured or perforated eardrum is when there is a tear in the membrane that separates the middle ear and ear canal. In addition to ear trauma, other causes of a ruptured eardrum include:
- Ear infection
- Sudden changes in pressure in your ear, such as when you are flying or scuba diving
- An object or substance stuck in your ear canal
- Extremely loud noises
In addition to bleeding, a ruptured eardrum can put you at a higher risk for chronic ear infections, which can lead to additional complications. One study of 529 patients with chronic ear infections found that 52.6% experienced some degree of permanent hearing loss.
Seeking Treatment for Ear Bleeding
Knowing when to seek treatment, as well as your treatment options, is essential when evaluating ear bleeding. In cases where you have no other symptoms and bleeding is light and likely caused by a superficial cut or scratch, no additional treatment is needed unless an infection develops.
On the other hand, if a blow or bump to the head is causing ear bleeding, get immediate medical attention or head to the nearest emergency room.
Call or make an appointment with a medical provider if, along with bleeding, you experience the following:
- Earache or pressure in the ear
- Hearing loss in the affected ear
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Fluid discharge from the ear
Your doctor will examine the ear to determine the cause and appropriate treatment options, which, in the case of infection, may include antibiotics, which can be filled at Abington Pharmacy or another local drugstore.
Ruptured eardrums can sometimes heal on their own, but larger tears may have to be repaired surgically. Any object in the ear that is causing bleeding will need to be removed as well.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call Pinnacle ENT today.