Welcome to Buoy Health

Learn about your swollen ears, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen 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.

Swollen Ears Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen ears.

Take a quiz
Your Swollen Ears May Also be Known as:
Both ears are puffy
Both ears are swollen
Both ears feel puffy
Both ears feel swollen
Ears are puffy
Ears are swollen
Ears feel puffy
Ears feel swollen
Puffiness in both ears
Puffiness in ears

Top 9 Swollen Ears Causes

  1. 1.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.

    You should go to your primary care doctor in the next day or so. There, diagnosis can be confirmed by observation. Treatment with antibiotic drops will be started.

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

    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus spaces behind the nose and cheeks. These spaces produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If the nose is swollen or if the mucus does not drain, this can block the sinuses and cause pain or infection.

    You can treat your symptoms at home using ibuprofen (for pain) and Tylenol (for a fever). Antibiotics for this diagnosis are not helpful because this is likely a viral infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, cough, sore throat, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Non - Allergic Rhinitis

    Nonallergic rhinitis is a medical condition which involves chronic (persistent) sneezing and having a runny, congested nose without any apparent cause. While the symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis are similar to those of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), there is no allergic reaction. Nonallergic rhinitis can be triggered by certain odors, weather changes, medications, or foods.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own by avoiding triggers of the symptoms, and also taking steps to relieve the symptoms once they appear. Symptom relief can be helped by rinsing nasal passages using a squeeze bottle (included in saline kits), blowing the nose regularly, getting an air humidifier for home use, and staying hydrated. You should not overuse nasal decongestants, as this may actually worsen your symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    congestion, mucous dripping in the back of the throat, runny nose, frequent sneezing, eye itch
    Symptoms that never occur with non-allergic rhinitis:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when sick collect excess mucus and can become infected.

    You should visit a physician or urgent care facility in the next day or two. It’s likely your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. In the mean time, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help with pain & fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Swollen Ears Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen ears.

    Take a quiz
  5. 5.Chronic Sinusitis

    Chronic sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (hollow cavities behind the nose & cheeks) that lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or years.

    You should visit your primary care physician, who may send you to a specialist to examine your nasal passages. A doctor may prescribe a topical or oral corticosteroid.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, headache, congestion, runny nose
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    If your flu-like symptoms are existing for less than 48 hours, it might be helpful to seek care by telephone or in a walk-in-clinic to get a course of oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Most people will get better on their own by drinking lots of fluids and taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetominophen (Tylenol) to help with aches or fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Post - Infectious Cough

    Post-infectious upper airway cough is a condition that can develop as a direct result of a previous infection of the airways. In adults, this is the most common cause of chronic (persistent) cough.

    You should go to a retail clinic to be treated, as the first line of treatment for this disease is over-the-counter medication. You should try taking a combination of antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine (Chlorphen) and nasal decongestant such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, congestion, mucous dripping in the back of the throat, clear runny nose, hoarse voice
    Symptoms that always occur with post-infectious cough:
    cough
    Symptoms that never occur with post-infectious cough:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  8. 8.Common Cold

    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

    The common cold is treated symptomatically. Since this is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective. You can safely treat the symptoms of this condition with over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, antihistamines & cough medicines.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, congestion
    Symptoms that never occur with common cold:
    being severely ill, severe muscle aches, rash, severe headache
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Coxsackie b Virus Infection

    Coxsackie B Virus usually doesn't cause any symptoms but can be the cause of nonspecific fever and, in rare cases, lung or heart infections. The disease is most common in children but adults are susceptible too.

    Coxsackie B Virus infection ends on its own and does not even need a true diagnostic test. Treatment is not necessary, but over the counter medication to symptomatically treat pain and fever might be helpful.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, nausea
    Symptoms that always occur with coxsackie b virus infection:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Ears

  • Q.How long has your ear been swollen?
  • Q.Is your ear swelling constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.How swollen is your ear?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our swollen ears symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Swollen Ears Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen ears have also experienced:

    • 9% Muscle Aches
    • 9% Cough
    • 9% Fever
  • People who have experienced swollen ears had symptoms persist for:

    • 44% Less Than a Week
    • 25% Less Than a Day
    • 20% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen ears were most often matched with:

    • 38% Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
    • 11% Acute Viral Sinusitis
    • 5% Non - Allergic Rhinitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Swollen Ears Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen ears.

Take a quiz