Inner ear bumps

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If an individual develops inner ear bumps, they can cause discomfort and can affect normal hearing. Even though a bump in the ear is not an indication of a serious condition, certain types of bumps are considered cancerous. The doctor can determine the suitable course of treatment for the inner ear bumps after identifying the type and cause of the growths.

The inner ear bumps can form at any point in the ear canal. The bumps or lumps can be hard or soft depending on the type. Some of these bumps can be sore while others are painless, but can still affect the hearing if they block the ear canal.

What are the types of inner ear bumps?

Inner ear bumps
In most cases, there is a bump in the ear after an uncomfortable sensation or fullness in the ear.
  • Sebaceous cysts are harmless inner ear bumps composed of dead skin cells and skin oils. These cysts are the most prevalent form of cysts seen in the ear.
  • Otitis externa or swimmer’s ear involves infection of the ear canal that results to swelling that feels like a bump in the ear.
  • Growth of excess bone within the ear canal can lead to the development of non-cancerous osteomas as well as exostoses.
  • Ceruminoma is a cancerous tumor that develops on the exterior part of the ear canal. This forms when cancer develops in the cells that produce earwax.
  • Keloids due to the excess growth of scar tissue can cause inner ear bumps if there is damage to the ear canal.
  • Basal cell and squamous cell cancer can cause bumps on the exterior part of the ear canal after years of extensive sun exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms?

In most cases, there is a bump in the ear after an uncomfortable sensation or fullness in the ear. The sebaceous cysts can be sore especially if they are infected. If the individual notices diminished hearing in one ear, a large-sized bump that blocks the ear canal is responsible. Hearing loss can also occur if earwax builds up around the bump.

As for otitis externa, it can be accompanied by drainage, itching, swollen glands in the neck and pain in the earlobe.


The sebaceous cysts often subside and do not require any treatment. In case the cyst is infected, sore or affects the hearing, the doctor might use antibiotics or remove the cyst.

Exostoses, osteomas and keloids can be removed surgically if they become too big, cause ear infections or affect the hearing. Corticosteroid ear drops work by reducing the swelling due to otitis externa. The antibiotics can be given to manage the infection.

As for ceruminoma, basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer, they are managed with surgery along with the removal of the surrounding tissue and radiation therapy.

Considerations to bear in mind

If there is ear drainage from the inner ear bumps or open sores in the ear, it is best to consult a doctor. Remember that drainage is an indication of an infection while an open sore on a bump is a sign of cancer. In case cancer is not promptly treated and allowed to reach the advanced stage, the doctor might be required to remove a large area of the external ear.

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