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Lump behind ear


Hard Lump behind Ear, Skull or Ear Lobe Causes & Treatment

What are the common causes of hard lump behind ear? Continue reading to explore more on the causes and how to get rid of such bumps.

Causes of Hard Lump behind Ear


Hard lump behind ear

Lump behind ear

Many bacterial and viral infections might lead to swelling in and around the neck and face. Two such infections are strep throat as well as the infectious mononucleosis. Other conditions can also lead to swelling in and also around the neck and the face. They are:

  • HIV and AIDS
  • measles
  • chickenpox


If you develop an ear infection and don’t get treatment, you may develop a more serious infection of the ear called mastoiditis. This infection develops in the bony hard lump behind the ear, which is called the mastoid. It may cause pus-filled cysts to develop. In turn, you may feel those as lumps or knots behind your ear.


An abscess usually develops when the tissue or even the cells in an area of skin is infected. Your body can respond to the infection by trying to get rid of the invading bacteria or the virus. To fight the bacteria, the body sends the white blood cells to infected sites.

These particular white blood cells then start accumulating in a damaged location and due to this, pus starts to develop. Pus is thick, which is a fluid-like product which can develop from dead white blood cells, bacteria, and many other invading substances. Abscesses are normally painful and warm to touch.

Otitis media

Otis media is a term that is used for an ear infection. Ear infections may be bacterial or even viral. When an infection happens, it can lead to painful fluid buildup as well as swelling. These particular symptoms might lead to a visible lump behind ear. Antibiotics can also be used to ease symptoms and end the infection.


Lymphadenopathy starts in the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are the tiny, organ-like structures which are usually present throughout the body. This includes under arms, in the neck, in the pelvis, and also behind the ears. From time to time, the lymph nodes can swell.

In several cases, the swelling is due to an infection. As the number of infection-fighting cells continues to grow, they will start building in the lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes are commonly brought about by infection, inflammation, or even cancer.

Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are the non-cancerous bumps which arise under the skin. They commonly develop on the head and torso. This type of cyst also develops around the sebaceous gland, which is normally responsible for the production of oil which lubricates the skin and also the hair.

Most of the sebaceous cysts lead to little or no pain. They might also be uncomfortable or even irritating because of where they develop on the body.

Acne vulgaris

Acne is a very common skin condition which happens when hair follicles in the skin are clogged. Dead skin cells and also the oil can clog the follicles and pimples and bumps can develop. In some of the cases, these bumps can grow to be very large, and sometimes painful.

Hard Lump behind Ear on Skull

There are several reasons why there can be a hard lump behind your ear. The most common causes are benign, but some of the more serious ones also exist:

  • Acne

Pimples in the ear can also develop wherever a hair follicle or even the pore is clogged. The skin that is behind the ears is also no exception. While the pimples are much less likely to develop there because of the area’s relative isolation, it may still happen.

  • Lymphadenopathy

This is another way of calling swollen lymph node. They are usually ovular, kidney-shaped organs which are distributed throughout the body. Lymph nodes produce lymph fluid in response to an infection.

There is a lymph node in the neck which can sometimes appear as a bump that is behind the ear if it starts swelling. In itself, a swollen lymph node is not the main cause for concern. It occurs as part of body’s response to several conditions and may sometimes persist for a long period of time, even after an infection itself clears up.

  • Infection

Any infection which leads to swelling in the throat can also lead to a hard lump behind your ear. Mononucleosis commonly happens with the throat swelling and above-mentioned lymphadenopathy. Obviously, the severity of an infection can affect how much of a concern the hard lump is.

  • Lipoma

A lipoma is a fatty lump which usually forms between layers of the skin. These might appear anywhere on the body and are always harmless. Depending on the size and also the layers which form between, a lipoma is not noticeable. This usually clears up on its own.

  • Cysts

The main form of cyst which appears as a lump behind ear is known as the epidermoid cyst. Your skin is topped by a very thin layer of cells which the body regularly sheds. Sometimes the cells move deeper into the skin and start replicating when they are to fall off (i.e. because of a damaged oil gland). These particular cells make the walls of the cyst and start to secrete keratin.

  • Sebaceous Cysts

Epidermoid cysts are sometimes known as the sebaceous cysts, although this term is usually misleading. A true sebaceous cyst normally emanates from oil-producing sebaceous glands and is usually filled with sebum, not any keratin. True sebaceous cysts—while they are very rare—can also develop behind or even on the ear.

  • Abscess

Abscesses and cysts are very much similar in the sense that they are enclosed “capsules” filled with the fluid. The main difference which exists is that an abscess is filled with pus. An abscess can also develop around the foreign bodies, infections, or even develop out of the existing cysts.

  • Mastoiditis

The mastoid bone usually runs directly behind an ear. Ear infections may sometimes spread to mastoid bone and lead to swelling or even lumps behind the ear.

  • Tumor

A growth from the tissue of the salivary gland or skin behind the ear can be a tumor. These result when the cells multiply uncontrollably instead of the self-destructing at the end of the life cycle. While only a malignant tumor is cancer, a benign one may still be problematic. Depending on size as well as placement, a benign tumor can affect the hearing quality or lead to dizziness.

Lump behind Ear Lobe

Acne lump behind the ear
Acne is very common in teenagers but might affect people of any age.

The common skin condition can explain a hard lump behind your ear.

In acne, pores in the skin can become blocked with sebum. This is an oily substance which is secreted by units in the base of hairs.

Mixed with the dead skin cells, the sebum then forms small comedones. A pimple might then be infected and also inflamed if some amount of bacteria get involved.

Inflamed pimples might get large. In most severe form, they might also create lumps called the acne cysts.

If the lump is brought about by acne, it can be very much painful when pressed. It is also likely to be accompanied by several other cysts as well as the pimples on the head, especially in the face.

Cystic acne is a condition which leads to scars. Doctors might assist in managing the condition with effective treatments.

A cyst behind the ear


Skin cysts are fluid-filled sacs. They usually form a raised, dome-shaped area in the skin. Sometimes they have a black area on top called the punctum.

They might also be moved freely and are not fixed down. A lump that cannot be moved from one side to another is required to be seen by a doctor.

Cysts in scalp tend to be a form called the pillar skin cysts. The lining of the sac is made up of hair root cells.

Other cysts are usually made of cells from the surface of the skin, called the epidermoid cysts. Finally, there are sebaceous cysts, which are much less common and have an oily substance.

Lipoma behind the ear

Lipoma is a possibility for the lump in the skin that is behind the ear. This condition is usually harmless, fatty lumps. They are not cancerous, grow slowly, and do not spread.

Lipomas are common in several other parts of the body but appear anywhere under the skin.

To the touch, a lipoma feels very much soft like bread dough. They are not tender or even painful unless pressing on the nearby nerves.


Lipomas are common but appear only in one or two places. In very rare cases, some other people have several lipomas.

The small lumps normally range from the size of a pea to some inches across.

If a lump is not leading to any cosmetic concern, it is then safe to leave it untreated. If you want, a lipoma might be surgically removed.

Hard Lump behind Ear Child

These are among the things that parents notice:

  • Lymph nodes.

By far these are the common lumps which a parent notice and worry about.  Most of the parents realize that the lymph nodes might also be found in the neck, but do not understand that they can also be found near the ears and at the back of the skull.

A pea-sized knot beneath the skin is nothing that can a worry a parent. Often they are found in the young infants (who are about 2 months old), causing an office visit. Healthy lymph nodes usually fluctuate in size.  The bad hard lump can keep growing and is not in any way subtle.

  • Congenital cysts.

There are some locations on the head which the children can be born with a congenital cyst.  These might at times get infected and cause a lot of problems.  But, some people can also go their whole life with a cyst without any problems.

Typical locations that are in front of the ear, in the front middle of the neck or the sides of the neck.  Cysts in the locations might also have several dimples or even tunnel from skin down to the cyst.  Occasionally, these will be required to be surgically removed.  Other times, they might be simply observed for the problems.

  • Dermoid cysts.

About 3 to 4 kids have a cyst in their eyebrow.  These are located at the part of the eyebrow that is closest to the temple.  They are usually rubbery and the size of a pea or even the lima bean.  Because these might sometimes rupture because of the trauma and lead to a strong inflammatory reaction, they are normally surgically removed.

Lump behind the Ear that Hurts

  1. Abscess
Causes of bumps behind ear

Painful lump behind ear

Infections of some tissues and cells through invading bacteria and also the viruses leads to an immune response developing, with white blood cells recruited to the affected area. The white cells start building up in the tissue, causing hard lump behind your ear.

Pus is a very thick liquid that consists of dead tissue and also the white blood cells, and several other substances. When the excess pus leads to the tissue swelling, and the area becoming very painful and warm to the touch, an abscess forms.

  1. Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous glands in the skin secrete oil lubricate the hair and also the skin. This is a healthy process, but sometimes the gland might be blocked and a sebaceous cyst developing. This manifests as a benign lump that is emerging from under the skin.

Although sebaceous cysts can be very much irritating or uncomfortable, they are unlikely to lead to any pain. They are frequently found on the neck, head, and also the torso.

  1. Lymphadenopathy

Lymphadenopathy is a condition where lymph nodes, which are the small round organs that are found all over the body, starts swelling, which might lead to a painful lump behind ear. The swelling is brought about by the accumulation of the immune cells that are within the lymph node.

Lymphadenopathy is likely because of the inflammation from an infection but can be because of some types of cancer.

  1. Acne Vulgaris

Acne is a common skin problem that mainly affects adolescents. From time to time, hair follicles on the surface of the skin can be blocked by oil and also the dead skin cells. This can cause bumps and pimples on the skin. These frequently appear near the surface as the whiteheads or even as blackheads.

But, other times the acne develops much deeper within the skin, thus creating large solid bumps which can be quite painful.

  1. Throat Infection

Lump behind ear might also be brought about by several types of viral and also the bacterial infection, which includes infectious mononucleosis and strep throat. Less frequent causes of the throat infections include measles, chickenpox as well as the HIV/AIDS, all of which can lead to swelling in face and neck areas, or painful lump behind ear.

  1. Mastoiditis

Mastoiditis is a very serious ear infection in mastoid, which is the bony protrusion that is behind the ear. It normally arises from an untreated minor ear infection. You might also feel a knot or even painful lump that is behind the ear, because of the development of a pus-filled cyst.

  1. Otitis Media

Infection and also the subsequent inflammation of the middle ear is called otitis media. It can be brought about by either bacteria or even the viruses and causes the fluid accumulation. This can lead to visible and also the painful lump behind ear.

Best Home Remedies for Hard Lump behind Ear

  1. Warm Compresses

A time-tested remedy that is applied to reduce swelling of hard lump behind the ear is the warm compresses. The hot temperature assists to increase blood circulation, which then reduces swelling and also some pain.

  1. Dip a clean washcloth in hot water and then wring out excess water.
  2. Place the warm washcloth on swollen lymph nodes for about 10 minutes.
  3. Repeat the process a few times daily until the swelling is completely gone.

You may wash the swollen area using warm water a few times daily.

  1. Massage

Another effective remedy is through massaging the lump. Massage usually stimulates the lymph nodes to assist them to function normally. This assists much to subside the swelling over time. In addition, it can reduce the accumulation of impurities in the nodes.

  • Using fingers, gently massage the lymph nodes for about 10 minutes. Do this for about 3 times daily until the swelling is completely gone.
  • You may also hire a professional so as give you a lymph massage.
  1. Salt Water

A saltwater gargle might be very much beneficial for reduction of the swelling and inflammation in hard lump brought about by infection in the throat.

  1. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt in just 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Gargle with the solution so as to get relief.
  3. Do the process a couple of times daily for about 1 week.
  1. Garlic

Garlic contains anti-inflammatory properties which may assist to reduce swelling of the lump behind ear. This antibiotic food also assists to cleanse the system, ease symptoms and also promote healing.

  • Eat 3 raw garlic cloves daily. Include garlic in cooking also.
  • Massage the swollen area using the garlic oil for some minutes, about 3 times daily.
  • Alternatively, take some amount of garlic supplement daily, after consulting the doctor.
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an effective home remedy that is used for a hard lump behind the ear. It assists to create an alkaline environment and also maintain a healthy pH level in the body.

In addition, it’s antibacterial property assists to fight any infection which might be leading to this problem.

  • Mix equal amounts of raw apple cider vinegar and some water. Soak a washcloth in solution and apply it on the swollen area. Wait for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off using warm water and pat dry. Repeat the process twice daily.
  • Also, mix 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and some raw honey in water. Drink it twice daily.

Lump behind the Ear Treatment

How to treat hard lump behind the ear

Treatment of bumps behind the ear

The pus that is within the hard lump behind your ear needs to have surgical draining. Skin abscesses are usually drained through cutting through the skin’s surface, whereas the deeper abscesses require more complicated surgery.

The exact technique that is used depends on where the abscess is. As the skin heals, a scar can then normally form. In addition, most of the patients will require taking antibiotics so as to clear up the infection.

Lump behind the ear that is mild, don’t need some amount of treatment. But, if you experience any swelling, consider using a home remedy. For instance, you might promote drainage by placing a warm compress over an area but don’t try to squeeze the cyst.

For inflamed cyst, seek medical advice, as they are treated by use of surgery or laser therapy.

Swollen lymph nodes are normally treated through targeting of the underlying cause of the swelling. For instance, antibiotics might be used for the bacterial infections, although the virus-mediated swelling will frequently clear up by itself.

If the doctor suspects that you have cancer, then an ultrasound scan or biopsy might be needed. Swollen lymph nodes that don’t resolve after some weeks need medical attention.

Further references;

  1. 8 Causes of Lumps Behind the Ears:
  2. Why Do I Have a Lump Behind My Ear:
  3. Lumps Behind My Ear: What Could They Be:
  4. When parents should be concerned about a lump on their child:
  5. Swollen Glands, Hernias, and Other Lumps Under the Skin – Topic Overview:
  6. Painful lump behind ear symptoms:
  7. Lump behind ear:

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