What is bleeding from the ear?

Bleeding from the ear is ear drainage that contains blood. The discharge may be a combination of pus, wax, fluid and blood. Although there are other possible causes, the most common cause of bleeding from the ear is a ruptured or perforated eardrum.

Your ear is divided into three sections: the outer ear (includes the external ear and ear canal), the middle ear (includes the eardrum and three tiny bones called ossicles), and the inner ear (includes the nerve endings that detect sound waves). Hearing occurs when sound waves travel through the outer ear and into the middle ear, where they cause vibration of the eardrum and ossicles. These vibrations are then transmitted through the inner ear, converted into electrical impulses, and translated by the brain as sound.

A ruptured or perforated eardrum means that the delicate eardrum, also known as the tympanic membrane, has a tear or hole. When your eardrum is ruptured you may experience a loss of hearing.

A ruptured eardrum is a cause for some concern because the eardrum is a natural barrier to germs entering the middle and inner ear. The good news is that a ruptured ear drum will heal on its own within a few weeks; however, precautions should be taken to avoid infection.

Bleeding from the ear can also be due to more serious conditions, such as a blow to the head or cancer of the ear canal. You should contact your doctor any time you experience bleeding from the ear. If you experience bloody discharge from the ear after a fall or a blow to the head, seek immediate medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with bleeding from the ear?

Depending on the underlying cause, you may experience symptoms in addition to bloody discharge from the ear including:

CAUSES

What causes bleeding from the ear?

Bleeding from the ear is usually due to a ruptured or perforated eardrum caused by a middle ear infection (otitis media). However, bleeding from the ear can also be caused by trauma to the head or the ear itself and other serious conditions. Be sure to tell your doctor about any other symptoms you are experiencing in order to address all possible causes.

Causes of a ruptured e... Read more about bleeding from earcauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 31, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear Infections, Ear, Nose and Throat


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