If your ear begins to bleed, you may be understandably alarmed. While bleeding from the ear could be from something as simple as a scab or pimple in the ear canal, it can also be a sign of something more serious. Below we review some common causes of a bleeding ear and how to seek proper treatment.
Ear infections occur when fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear due to inflammation, usually caused by a cold or allergies. This fluid is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, stuffy nose, slight hearing loss and fever. In some cases, clear or bloody drainage may come out of the ear is well.
Most ear infections resolve in a week or two without treatment. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken to reduce pain and fever. If your infection has persisted 10 days or longer, you’re in a lot of pain, your ear is draining or you have a fever, call your doctor; they may prescribe an antibiotic.
Sudden pressure changes, usually caused by changes in altitude like when scuba diving or taking off from Easterwood Airport can cause the eardrum to be sucked in, causing feelings of stuffiness, pain, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss. If the pressure change is severe, it can actually tear your eardrum, causing blood to leak from the ear.
Prevent barotrauma by chewing gum, yawning or swallowing to allow the air pressure in your ears to equalize with your environment. You can also pop your ears by pinching your nose and gently “exhaling” with your mouth closed. If you experience severe pain, fever or blood leaking from your ear, call your doctor.
If you hit your head and begin bleeding from your ears, this is a medical emergency and you should seek treatment immediately. Blood coming from the ear could be a sign that there is bleeding in the brain. In addition to risk of brain damage, a head injury can cause loss of consciousness, disorientation, nausea/vomiting, tiredness, difficulty speaking and dizziness.
For more information about the causes of bleeding from the ear or to schedule an appointment with an ear expert, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.