What Causes Bleeding From Your Ears and How to Treat It

Ear bleeding can happen because of an injury or as a symptom of another condition. When the ear bleeds, it is due to blood coming from the ear or inside of the ear. Some of the potential causes include trauma, a cut, an ear infection, an object inside of the eardrum, cancer, or the most common, a ruptured eardrum.

Learn more about the causes and treatment of blood in the ear.

Close-up of ear

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Ruptured or Perforated Eardrum

The eardrum is the membrane that separates the ear canal from the middle part of the ear. This is the area of the ear that gets the vibration from sound and enables hearing.

When a ruptured eardrum occurs, there is a tear—or perforation—in the membrane that separates the middle ear and ear canal. Typically, a middle ear infection can cause a ruptured eardrum. This happens because the fluid from the infection settles behind the eardrum and a pus-like liquid drains from the ear. Bleeding is also known to happen. As a result, temporary hearing loss may occur.

Symptoms of a ruptured or perforated eardrum include:

  • Earache or sudden relief of an earache
  • Hearing loss in the affected ear
  • Spinning sensation or dizziness
  • Bleeding or fluid discharge from the ear canal
  • Ringing noise in the ear

Causes

Some of the causes of a ruptured or perforated eardrum include:

  • Ear infection
  • Sudden changes in pressure (from flying on a plane or scuba diving)
  • Trauma from something stuck in the ear canal
  • Very loud noises

Other Causes of Blood in the Ear

There are other less likely causes of bleeding in the ear, including: 

  • Ear pimples
  • A blow to the head
  • Ear canal cancer, middle ear cancer, or skull base cancers
  • An object in the ear
  • Scratching scabs

Treatment

There are a few treatment options for a ruptured eardrum. If the rupture is small, it may heal on its own. If this is the case, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

Some holes will have to be treated by an otolaryngologist, a physician trained in the medical and surgical care of ear, nose, and throat disorders. If the hole is small, they may place a patch and medication over the eardrum that will help it heal. If the rupture is not healed after two months, the doctor will most likely suggest surgery in which tissue is used from another area to patch the eardrum.

It is important to speak with a doctor regarding questions, concerns, and a treatment plan.

When to See a Doctor

If you have bleeding in your ear, call your doctor to set up an appointment so you will know the cause of the bleeding and your next steps. If you were hit in the head or bumped your head and your ear is bleeding, get medical attention immediately or go to the emergency room.

Don’t hesitate if you also have the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Problems with vision
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes blood in the ear?

Ear bleeding can happen because of an injury or as a symptom of another condition. When a person’s ear bleeds, it is due to blood coming from the ear or inside of the ear. Some of the potential causes of a bleeding ear include trauma, a cut, an ear infection, an object inside of the eardrum, cancer, or the most common, a ruptured eardrum.

Why is there dried blood in my ear?

Dried blood can come from a ruptured pimple or previous discharge. Anything that causes bleeding in the ear will obviously also cause some dried blood to accumulate.

Why can I hear my blood pumping in my ear?

Pulsatile tinnitus is when a person often hears a thumping sound in one or both ears. The rhythmic sound is due to a turbulent flow of blood vessels in the head or neck. This can be a result of high blood pressure, blood vessel disorder, or conductive hearing loss. Vascular tumors, such as glomus tympanicum, as well as many other disorders may also be associated with pulsatile tinnitus.

How do you stop ear bleeding?

If the bleeding is due to an ear infection, it can go away on its own. The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent bacteria buildup.

If the eardrum is ruptured, the doctor can put on a patch with medication or have you start using antibiotic ear drops. If that doesn’t work, surgery may be recommended.

Why is my ear piercing bleeding?

Ears are known to bleed lightly after a piercing. If it continues, it could be infected. Call the doctor for more information and treatment.

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Article Sources
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  1. Cleveland Clinic. Ear bleeding. Updated December 20, 2019.

  2. Harvard Health. Perforated eardrum.

  3. Cleveland clinic. Ruptured eardrum (acutely perforated tympanic membrane). Updated April 18, 2019.

  4. Penn Medicine. Pulsatile tinnitus.