Benign cysts and tumors are usually discovered during a routine ear examination, which can include hearing tests (audiometry) and middle ear testing (tympanometry). When looking into the ear, the doctor may see cysts or benign tumors in the ear canal.
If the cyst or tumor is not painful and does not interfere with hearing, treatment is not necessary.
If a cyst becomes painful, it may be infected. Treatment may include antibiotics or removal of the cyst.
Benign bony tumors may progressively increase in size. If a benign tumor is painful, interferes with hearing, or leads to frequent ear infections, surgery to remove the tumor may be necessary.
Benign ear cysts and tumors are usually slow-growing and may disappear on their own.
Hearing loss if the tumor is large
Infection of the cysts
Infection of the ear canal
Wax trapped in the ear canal
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have:
Symptoms of a benign ear cyst or tumor
Discomfort, pain, or hearing loss
O’Handley JG, Tobin E, Tagge B. Otorhinolaryngology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 25.
Nicolai P, Castelnuovo P. Benign tumors of the sinonasal tract. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 49.
Warren FM III, Shelton C, Wiggins RH III. Neuroradiology of the temporal bone and skull base. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 135.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.