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Alternative Names Return to topOsteomas; Exostoses; Tumor - ear; Cysts - ear; Ear cysts; Ear tumors
Definition Return to top
Benign ear cysts are noncancerous lumps or growths in the ear.
Causes Return to top
Sebaceous cysts are the most common type of cysts seen in the ear. They are bulging, sac-like collections of dead skin cells and oils produced by oil glands in the skin.
They commonly occur:
The exact cause is unknown, but cysts may occur when oils are produced in a skin gland faster than they can be released from the gland.
Benign bony tumors of the ear canal (exostoses and osteomas) may be caused by excess growth of bone. Repeated exposure to cold water may increase the risk of benign tumors of the ear canal.
Symptoms Return to top
The symptoms of cysts include:
The symptoms of benign tumors include:
Note: There may be no symptoms.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Benign cysts and tumors are usually discovered during a routine ear examination, which can include hearing tests (audiometry) and middle ear testing (tympanometry). When looking into the ear, the doctor may see cysts or benign tumors in the ear canal.
Sometimes a CT scan is needed.
This disease may also affect the results of the following tests:
Treatment Return to top
If the cyst or tumor is not painful and does not interfere with hearing, treatment is not necessary.
If a cyst becomes painful, it may be infected. Treatment may include antibiotics or removal of the cyst.
Benign bony tumors may progressively increase in size. If a benign tumor is painful or interferes with hearing, surgical removal of the tumor may be necessary.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Benign ear cysts and tumors are usually slow-growing and may disappear on their own.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have: