Learn more about ear bleeding causes and treatments.

What causes your ears to bleed?

If you have blood in your ear canal there can be a range of ear bleeding causes from the mild to extreme so it is important to receive an accurate diagnosis. Most causes of bleeding from your ear, such as ear infections or sudden air pressure changes, aren't serious. But some are, like head injuries or very rare cancers. 

The most common reason for blood in the ear is an ear infection that results in a ruptured eardrum with fluid and blood leaking out. This is usually painful but not too dangerous. It can be caused by bacteria or a virus so you need to see a doctor to get it treated properly. 

Another common cause of blood in ear canal is an object that is stuck in the ear - this is more common in children. This can be easy to fix, but sometimes you will need to go to a doctor to get a difficult-to-remove object out of the ear canal. This is also why doctors always tell you not to put anything in your ear!

Sudden pressure change, like when you land in a plane or go scuba diving, can cause physical damage to your eardrum and result in your ear bleeding. This is called barotrauma, and it usually is avoidable by chewing gum or swallowing to pop your ears. If you are in a situation where the pressure changes suddenly without warning you might not be able to prepare for it and injury can occur. It’s important to get examined by a doctor if you have any blood or fluid leaking from your ear, if you have a fever, or the pain is severe.

One of the more serious reasons your ear might bleed is from a head injury. Ear bleeding after a hit or blow to the head could be from bleeding in the brain. This is a medical emergency because there is a risk of brain damage. Go to an emergency room or call 911 right away.

A rare cause of blood in the ear canal is cancer. Doctors in the U.S. diagnose only about 300 cases a year. It usually starts as skin cancer on the outer ear. If you don't get treatment, it can spread to the ear canal and deeper into the ear so if you suspect this see your doctor right away.

Finally, if you find your ear bleeding after cleaning it’s possible that you just scratched your ear canal and it will need a little time to heal. It’s also possible that you ruptured your eardrum, so if you are also experiencing a lot of pain it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor.

What to do if your ear is bleeding?

As noted above, there are a number of causes of blood in the ear canal so if you want to know what to do if your ear is bleeding the easiest answer is to make an appointment with your doctor so they can determine the cause. This is especially true if you are experiencing severe pain, fluid or blood leaking out of your ear, or a high fever.

How to treat bleeding ears?

There are numerous causes for bleeding ears so there are also numerous treatments. If you want to know how to treat bleeding ears the best answer is just to go see your doctor. Even if you just have an ear infection, the doctor will need to determine if this was caused by a virus or bacteria before administering a treatment.

How to prevent your ears from bleeding?

You probably found this blog post asking yourself what causes your ears to bleed, but if you are also interested in prevention, there are some basic things you can do to keep your ears from bleeding.

The most basic thing is don’t put foreign objects in your ear. Cotton swabs cause a large number of ear injuries every year including bleeding ear canals and that is why doctors do not recommend them for ear cleaning.

A safer way to clean your ear is with a digital otoscope because you can actually see everything in your ear canal when you use it and more easily avoid injury to your eardrum. Shop our digital otoscopes now!