Otorrhagia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Also known as ear hemorrhage, it can be very alarming for a person.

There are many causes for this type of bleeding, and some may be emergencies. Unless a person is sure he has a shallow cut, he should go immediately to the doctor to determine why his ear is bleeding and undergo proper treatment.

Causes of otorrhagia

Any of the following may cause an otorrhagia:

1. Surface lesions of the skin.

Bleeding from the outer ear usually occurs due to a superficial wound on the skin, such as a cut or injury.

They are minor skin trauma. There probably are no more symptoms than mild pain at the injury site in this case.

A skin lesion can also occur if a person uses a Q-tip or swab and tries to cleanse aggressively.


2. Head injury or trauma.

A blow, a fall, or an accident can cause a head injury that can cause a hemorrhage in the ear.

3. Infection in the ear and rupture of the eardrum.

4. Barotrauma: Pressure changes in an airplane or during diving.

5. Ear cancer.

6. Presence of an object in the auditory canal.

An object in the ear is often more noticeable for an adult than for a child.

It is not uncommon for small children to stick candy, toys, beads, and other small objects in their ears and not complain.

Any object in the ear, including small insects, can cause bleeding, infection, or discomfort.

Usually, the earache will resolve when the object is no longer in the ear.

Symptoms of otorrhagia

Several conditions or injuries can cause bleeding in your ear. Each of these has unique symptoms, which can help your doctor diagnose the cause:

Broken or broken eardrum

  • Pain or discomfort in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ear
  • The sensation of rotation, known as vertigo
  • Nausea or vomiting caused by vertigo

Infection in the ear

  • Pressure or pain in the ear
  • Fever
  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty to sleep


  • Earache and pressure
  • Dizziness
  • We are ringing in the ears.

Foreign objects in the auditory canal

  • Pain
  • Pressure
  • Discharge of fluid from your ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness

Cancer of the auditory canal

  • Pain or pressure in the ear
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain or numbness
  • Blurred or altered vision

Head trauma

This could be a sign of bleeding around the brain, so you should seek emergency medical attention.


Bleeding from the ears will not usually cause complications, but the underlying causes of bleeding can cause long-term problems.

For example, a ruptured eardrum may become infected.

The eardrum is a natural barrier between the middle ear and germs, water, and other objects.

Without the eardrum in place to protect the inner workings of your ear, infections could develop.

A severe ear infection could infect the very fragile bones of your ear.

This could lead to permanent hearing loss if the infection is not treated correctly.

Common complications of other causes of bleeding of the ear include:

  • Changes in the perception of language.
  • Permanent hearing loss.
  • Permanent ringing in the ear.
  • Permanent cognitive difficulties.
  • Frequent headaches
  • Frequent vertigo.
  • Balance problems

Diagnosis of otorrhagia

When you visit your doctor after an otorrhagia, you will first perform a physical examination and inspect your ears with an otoscope, neck, head, and throat.

They will ask for a complete medical history and details about when the bleeding started and what might have led to it.

If the cause of bleeding is unclear, additional imaging tests such as an x-ray or CT scan may be helpful.

Laboratory tests can also be performed to evaluate if there is an infection.


The treatments for otorrhagia address the underlying cause. When the cause is treated, the bleeding stops. These treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: antibiotics can treat and eliminate some infections. However, not all ear infections will respond to antibiotics. Viral infections will not respond to antibiotic therapy.
  • Medications for the treatment of pain: Over-the-counter pain relievers can relieve discomfort and the sensation of irritating pain.
  • Hot packs: The warm compress warmth will gently relieve pain and discomfort.