Bumps behind Ears: Small, Pea Sized, Treatment

A lump behind your ear can be painful or painless. To add on that, they can be small or large, soft or hard etc. Most people describe it as a pea sized bump behind the ear lobe or a strange lump near ear. When swollen, this kind of bumps can hurt or become sore to touch. So, we are going to look at the causes of these growths on the ear bone and how are they diagnosed and treated.

What do Bumps behind Ear Mean

In most cases, lumps or nodules behind the ears are harmless. They may show signs of a need for medication, as in the case of an infection, but rarely are a sign of a dangerous or life-threatening problem.


Some symptoms directly relate to bumps behind the ear while others are indications of other diseases in the body. It is important to seek advice from a doctor early when some of these symptoms are detected to avoid the spread of the problem to other areas of the skin. The symptoms include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear normally relates with bumps behind the ear like in cases of rubella or the German measles.
  • An itchy feeling behind the ear that when scratched turns the area red. Redness is a common symptom of rashes behind the ear.
  • Small bumpy pimples appear behind the ear
  • Depending on the cause, the bumps may sometimes vary in color. Reddish, Pinkish or even purple
  • Dark spots behind the ear develop from the rashes that are healing
  • Crusty blisters may result behind the ear causes by the sores after they open up
  • Small bumps with pus like fluids and are painful to touch and may even cause ear ache
  • In some cases, rashes may appear but they are not itchy or painful
  • Fever, vomiting or nausea may accompany the rashes behind the ear
  • Inflammation with a burning sensation behind the ear either on both ears and one side
  • Patients may have bumps behind the ear that comes and goes
  • Bumps behind the ear may appear at the same time with bumps on other areas like the chest, forehead, face, or back.
  • Bumps behind ear and neck may be a related symptom to some chronic inflammatory skin conditions.
  • A scaly or greasy skin sometimes with yellowish crust.
  • Cough and running nose may sometimes characterize bumps behind the ear like in cases of measles infection in children.
  • Muscles aches, loss of appetites with fever and headaches may be symptoms of rash behind the ear when they are related to underlying disease like chickenpox

Other Symptoms

Bumps, rashes and knots in areas around ears indicate symptoms of conditions that could be serious. However, other symptoms may be experienced other than pain and the bumps feeling hard or tough. With viral and bacterial infections, you are likely to experience a sore throat, sore neck, fatigue and dizziness as well. Apart from he mentioned above, you may experience the following:

Sore to touch or hot to touch

Sore bumps are mostly caused by irritation. If, for instance, you get a bump behind your ear that feels hot to tough, it could be caused by the irritation of trying to pop it. Infected lumps and bumps behind ear can also feel hot to touch and sore. Try to avoid disturbing the area behind the ear. You can use a cold compress to relieve the pain on your ear. If it persists, it could be an ear infection that needs treatment. See your medical provider immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Itchy lumps in ear

An itchy ear bump comes from an irritated skin around the ear. Some infections and allergies can cause the skin around ears to become irritated. The cause for a small, itchy lump behind your ears is likely to be acne, eczema or psoriasis. Eczema is a more common cause with possible small lumps forming on the skin. They may present as raised lumps that feel like a bruise, inflamed, scaly and dry bumps on the ear bone.

Hearing loss

Most lumps and growths that cause hearing loss usually grow inside the ear. However, ear infections can show symptoms even on the outside of the ear. Acoustic neuronal, chronic sinusitis, Meniere’s disease and cauliflower ear are some of the ear problems that can cause hearing loss and growths or bumps behind ear.

Lumps that keep coming back or won’t go away

Do you have a lump that lasts a year, comes and goes and won’t go away? Lymphoma lumps that keep coming back are dangerous and should be treated early enough. In most cases, recurring lumps are a sign of cancerous growths.
Cancer is a life threatening disease and should be reported early enough. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy etc. is known to be more successful if started early enough. Pink bumps behind ears that are draining pus, a clear fluid or keep bleeding now and then should be taken seriously. See a doctor immediately.

How to identify lumps behind the ears

If you have a history of acne, it may be easy for you to diagnose a lump or bump behind your ear as a pimple. But for other people, figuring out what is causing the raised area may be trickier.

How to self-check

Your hand is your best tool for detecting lumps or bumps behind your ears. If the lump feels soft, it is probably a lipoma. If the spot tender and painful, especially when touched, it could be a pimple or an abscess. In addition to the bump, are you experiencing other symptoms, such as fever or chills? The lump could be another sign of an infection.

What are those Small Bumps behind Ears

Discovering a new lump on your skin can be frightening. When located behind the ear, those bumps could be an infection, such as mastoiditis, to an allergic reaction, such as dermatitis. By visiting your doctor, he/she can diagnose you properly and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
According to researchers, ear infections can sometimes cause the mastoid bone to become infected. This is most common in children. When it occurs, the areas swell up and results in a visible protrusion.
This protrusion may be as small as a fingertip or as large as a plum. More symptoms include fever, hearing loss, ear redness and ear pain. Doctors treat this infection with repeated doses of antibiotics.
One particular type of dermatitis (seborrheic dermatitis) often occurs behind the ears. The seborrheic dermatitis causes scaly pimples to form; these bumps behind ear can be yellow or red in color. It is not known exactly what causes dermatitis. They do know it rarely affects teenagers, is more likely to affect men, worsens with low temperatures and may be hereditary.

Causes of Lumps behind Ear

There are numerous reasons why a lump could develop behind your ear. The most common causes are also the most benign, but some more serious ones also exist:

  • Acne:bumps behind ears can develop wherever a hair follicle or pore becomes clogged. The skin behind your ears is no exception. While pimples are less likely to develop there due to the area’s relative isolation, it can happen.
  • Lymphadenopathy:This is another way of saying swollen lymph node. These are ovular, vaguely kidney-shaped organs that are distributed throughout the body. Lymph nodes often also produce lymph fluid in response to infection. There is a lymph node in the neck that can sometimes appear as a bump behind the ear if it begins to swell. In and of itself, a swollen lymph node is not cause for concern. It happens as part of the body’s response to many different conditions and can sometimes persist for a while, even after the infection itself clears up.
  • Infection:Any infection that causes swelling in the throat can cause bump behind ears. Mononucleosis, for instance, commonly occurs with throat swelling and the mentioned lymphadenopathy. Obviously, the severity of your infection will affect how much of a concern the ear lump is.
  • Lipoma:A lipoma is a fatty lump that forms between the layers of your skin. These can appear anywhere on the body and are almost always harmless. Depending on their size and the layers they form between, a lipoma is not always noticeable. This generally clears up on its own.

When Bumps are Ithcy

Itchy bumps behind the ears can be because of a number of causes ranging from allergies to infections. To properly treat itchiness, also called pruritis, you should consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis. If not properly treated, those itchy bumps behind the ears can result in damage to the skin, worsening infection or spread of the condition.
One of the most common causes of this condition in adults is dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis. The condition causes flaky, itchy skin on the scalp and can occur behind the ears.  According to research finding dermatitis causes an itchy, often red, rash sometimes accompanied by blisters, swelling and often oozing, scabbing and scaling.
A small knot or lump at the back of the head and just below the ear can explained as a pea-sized, either fleshy or fatty cyst, growth or tumor. However, most people view them as a strange nodule that appears on the ear bone. The size can differ with some being small lumps behind ears while others appearing to be large.
What does it mean to have bumps behind ear? Numerously, such lumps and bumps do not mean a serious problem and can be neglected. In some cases though, like when they are infected, it can be a serious problem that could be a symptom of a complicated condition.

Why is my Lymph Node Swollen behind Ear

Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear can be a result of many causes, some more serious than others. Found throughout the body, lymph nodes are bean-shaped glands that store nutrients and fluid, and aid in waste removal.
Lymph nodes also produce antibodies to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other damaging elements in the blood. Once the infection is fought, lymph nodes absorb these elements to filter them out of the body. This process temporarily causes the lymph node to swell without pain or you even noticing.

reasons for swollen lymph nodes 

There are numerous causes of swollen lymph node. Some are minor and require minimal treatment while others can be more serious. Here are some common causes of swollen lymph nodes behind the ear.
Infections: Infections, such as fungal infection, bacteria in the mouth, and mononucleosis, can all contribute to swollen lymph nodes behind the ear. Because helping fight off infections is the function of lymph nodes, they become easily exposed to any pathogens in the body. The lymph nodes become enlarged as they produce more and more antibodies.
Injury: Any damage to the head or neck area can cause the lymph nodes behind the ear to swell as the body is trying to repair itself. Even if you get a cut, the overproduction of antibodies will cause lymph nodes to swell.
Autoimmune diseaseAutoimmune diseases, like lupus and Hashimoto’s disease, along with a few others, can cause lymph nodes to swell because the body’s immune system has become damaged from the disease.
Cancer: Lymphoma or blood cancers can cause the lymph nodes to swell. If swelling behind the ear occurs, it could be an indication of tumor growth.
German measles: German measles is caused by the rubella virus and is manifested as a red or pink rash on the skin. The rash will begin at the face and work its way down. Along with rash, swollen lymph nodes behind the ear can occur as well.
Tooth abscess: A tooth abscess refers to a pocket being formed around an infected area of a tooth.
Flu and cold: this can cause several lymph nodes to swell, but predominately ones behind the ears or on the neck.
Allergy: Along with other common allergy symptoms like runny nose and itchy eyes, some individuals may experience swelling of the lymph nodes behind the ear, too.
Strep throat: Having strep throat can result in swollen lymph nodes which occur as bumps behind ear along with other symptoms, like sore throat and painful swallowing.

Bump vs Abscess behind Ear

An abscess is a collection of pus – a thick fluid that usually contains white blood cells, dead tissue and germs (bacteria). The pus may be yellow or green and may have a bad smell. The usual cause of an abscess is an infection with bacteria. Certain bacteria are more likely to be ‘pus-forming’ as they make chemicals that can damage the body’s tissues.
The infection behind ear causes the immune system to set off white blood cells and chemicals to fight the bacteria. A cavity forms and fills with pus. The cavity becomes bigger if the infection continues and the pus can’t get out.
Most abscesses form just under the skin.  In this case, a hair root behind ear becomes infected and develops into a small abscess. This can be seen as bumps behind ears
An abscess sometimes forms inside the body within an organ or in a space between organs. Various symptoms may occur, depending on the site of the abscess. An abscess inside the body usually happens because of another condition.

How to Get Rid of Bumps behind Ear

In order to get rid of little lumps near ears, you must know the cause. Treating the cause is a sure way of getting rid of the symptoms completely. Treatments and cures range from topical cream applications to oral medications. Surgery may also be available depending on the extent to which the lump will have growth.
Home Remedies

Tea tree oil 

If the lumps are sebaceous cysts, tea tree oil can help get rid of them. Here’s how to use this natural home remedy.  Tea tree oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. It will help the cyst dry up faster as well as reduce the swelling.

Gargling salt water

If the lump behind ear is caused by swollen lymph nodes as a result of ear and throat infections, salt water gargles can help get rid of the bacterial condition.

Garlic oil and Mullein oil cure

Garlic and mullein oil are also good home treatments for bumps behind ear problems. If the mastoid bone is infected and has a bump, pour a little warm mullein oil in your ear. It will clear the infection. Garlic oil will also help relieve ear pain or aches fast.
Warm compress and painkillers
Otitis media can cause pain in the middle ear. You can manage the pain using either warm compresses or over-the-counter pain killers. Do not use OTC medications for children with ear problems. If warm compresses are not able to relieve the pain, your doctor for proper treatment.

Medical Treatment

Treatments for hard painful bumps behind your ears caused by mastoiditis, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. These are usually given intravenously. In serious cases, a surgical operation is done to drain get rid of the bony mastoid. Here are the common treatments used to remove a lump behind ear.


Antibiotic treatments are administered if the cause of swollen lymph nodes behind ears is from bacterial infection. In most cases, bacterial infections come with colds, mono, flu and tonsillitis. Prescribed antibiotic medications may be oral or intravenous. Ceftriaxone is one of the treatments that are likely to be given.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, ensure that you follow its full course to avoid resistance and recurrence of the problem.

Topical corticosteroid creams

Your doctor might prescribe topical medications such as hydrocortisone cream or calamite lotion. These will help relieve symptoms of dermatitis, which cause skin rashes and red bumps. If the itching does not go, you may want to get oral antihistamines.

Surgical excision to remove growths

Cancerous growths behind your ear can be removed surgically. Other treatments for cancer include chemotherapy, radiation and chemical treatment. Treatment will depend on the type of cancer that is causing a hard lump behind ear.

Anti-acne medications

While acne can heal on its own with time, some medications can help it clear faster. Treatment of infected bumps behind ears may include antibacterial medications. However, you might have to take anti-acne cures.