Though rare, malignant ear tumors can be life-threatening, and hence, need to be treated as early as possible. This article tells you about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for ear tumors.
Apart from the pain, the symptoms of ear tumor are so subtle that they generally go unnoticed in the primary stage of the tumor. And when the tumor reaches the final stage, it is very difficult to treat it, and it causes a lot of unwanted severe health issues as well. Hence, it is essential to be aware of the symptoms associated with it. Ear tumors or cysts can form at any point in or around the ears. Some of the most common areas are behind the ears, in the ear canal, and in the earlobe. Basically, the tumors can occur deep inside the ear as well as in the exterior parts of the ear. They can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors may not cause any uncomfortable symptoms but it is essential to get rid of them as they may turn malignant after a certain amount of time, or their presence may disrupt the normal functioning of the ear.
Experts and researchers have conducted many studies, but still have been unsuccessful in deciphering the reasons behind the formation of cysts and tumors in the ear. But some experts have managed to find some links between the oil production process of the skin glands and the ear tumors. When excessive oil is produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin, the oil gets accumulated, and along with dead skin cells, it forms cysts or tumors which may be benign or malignant. Another possible reason could be an abnormal overgrowth of the ear bone. Apart from this, exposure to cold water is also known to contribute to the growth of benign tumors in the ear canals.
One of the most striking symptom of ear tumor is the presence of small lumps on the skin. These lumps normally feel soft, and you may notice some change in their appearance, frequently. In some cases these lumps just grow bigger, and in other cases, they change their size randomly. These lumps on the ears can be observed easily and can also be felt by the fingers when they are behind the ears. Another symptom is discomfort and pain in the ears. The ear pain could be very severe, chronic, sharp, and may be accompanied with swelling and redness in the ears. In case the cyst is infected, your ears may release pus or certain liquids.
One of the hazardous ear symptoms is gradual hearing loss. Many people suffering from benign ear tumors complain of hearing loss along with pain and discomfort in the ear. Some people also complain of discomfort while listening to loud music or while using head phones. But it is important for you to note one thing, that is, you may or may not observe any symptoms or cysts whether they are benign or malignant. Hence, it is advisable to go for periodic ear checkups to diagnose the problem as early as possible.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Ear tumors are usually diagnosed during usual ear examinations. There are many ways to diagnose the presence of tumor or cysts in the ear. The first is by observing the ear canals. The doctors may observe the ear canals thoroughly to spot the cysts in the ear passage or in or out of the ears. The doctor may conduct audiometry and tympanometry tests to check the hearing capacity. In some cases, he may advise you to undergo a CT scan. If the person is diagnosed with the presence of ear tumor or cyst, the doctors first check if the tumor is malignant or benign. In case the tumor is benign and does not affect the person in any way then no treatment is prescribed. If the tumor is benign yet causes infection, then the person is prescribed with antibiotics till the infection is cured completely. But if the tumor is malignant, it has to be removed through a surgical procedure.
Since ear tumor symptoms are not very prominent, it is always advisable to undergo a complete routine ear examination to avoid any discomforts in the future.