Read below about swelling behind the ears, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your swelling behind the ears from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swelling Behind the Ears

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced swelling behind the ears. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Lymph Node Inflammation Behind the Ear

    There are lymph nodes behind the ear. Lymph nodes are where your immune cells live, and when they become enlarged, it could be from a nearby infection, immune response, or even backlog of blood.

    Depends on the outcomes of what is causing the enlargement

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain behind the ear, swelling behind the ears
    Symptoms that always occur with lymph node inflammation behind the ear:
    swelling behind the ears
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)

    Swimmer's ear, also known as otitis externa, is inflammation, irritation, or infection of the outer ear and ear canal.

    7-10 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, jaw pain, ear pain that gets worse when moving
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  3. 3.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Branchial Cleft Anomaly

    A branchial cleft anomaly (abnormality) is a mass of unusual tissues within the neck. These tissues may form fluid-filled pockets called cysts, or they may form passages (called fistulas) that drain to an opening in the skin.

    Good prognosis if surgically corrected, with no issues later in life.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, neck bump, painful neck lump, trouble swallowing, swollen neck
    Symptoms that never occur with branchial cleft anomaly:
    bleeding from the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Chronic Inflammation of the Salivary Gland (Parotitis)

    The parotid glands are large salivary glands that sit inside each cheek, over the jaw in front of each ear. Chronic recurrent parotitis is a condition that causes repeated cycles of swelling in these glands, causing swelling and occasionally dry mouth or a strange taste.

    Most episodes of chronic parotitis are treated symptomatically. Antibiotics are often effective. In the most severe cases, the inflamed gland can be surgically removed.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    jaw pain, moderate fever, swollen jaw, dry mouth, swelling behind the ears
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic inflammation of the salivary gland (parotitis):
    swollen jaw
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swelling Behind the Ears

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Is there anything coming from your ear(s)?
  • Q.Do you use a hearing aid or wear earplugs?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swelling behind the ears symptom checker to find out more.

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Swelling Behind the Ears Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swelling behind the ears have also experienced:

    • 32% Pain Behind the Ear
    • 6% Lump Behind the Ear
    • 3% Headache
  • People who have experienced swelling behind the ears had symptoms persist for:

    • 50% Less Than a Week
    • 31% Less Than a Day
    • 8% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swelling behind the ears were most often matched with:

    • 33% Lymph Node Inflammation Behind the Ear
    • 33% Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
    • 33% Cellulitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swelling behind the ears

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