Lymph Node Swelling in VA, DE, MS, and NC Skip to Main Content

Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind the Ear

lymph-nodes behind the ear in South Carolina
– 5.5 minute read

Next Level Hearing Care Explains Lymph Node Swelling

At Next Level Hearing Care, we’ve had patients throughout VA, DE, MS, and NC bring up the concern of lymph node swelling when discussing ear care and hearing loss. Experiencing this swelling can be alarming, especially when there hasn’t been a recent injury or illness. In most cases, it isn’t a serious medical condition, and swelling will usually go away on its own. However, it is important to seek medical attention if it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms. Understanding what lymph nodes are, the reasons those behind your ears might swell, and the symptoms you should be aware of when this happens will help you determine what’s common and when you should seek medical attention.

What Are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune system and are responsible for filtering lymphatic fluid, which contains waste products and bacteria. As part of the body’s defense mechanism, they expand to fight an infection or illness when present. Typically, the lymph nodes closest to the site of the infection will swell, but in some cases, lymph nodes behind the ear may also enlarge. However, an infection is not always the culprit.

Why Do I Get Bumps Behind My Ears?

Swelling behind the ear can indicate a variety of medical conditions – acute or chronic. Most of the time, acute cases are minor, and as the lymph nodes expand to fight the infection or illness, your body’s defense system is hard at work. These cases resolve on their own. Ear infections are common causes and an example of one that might require antibiotics to overcome the illness. Some of the more severe diseases usually require further medical treatment to address the underlying cause, which is typically the case with chronic conditions. Causes of lymph node swelling behind the ears include:

  • Acute Infections – Cold, flu, ear infections, viral infections, such as measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox, and more severe conditions like HIV, lymphoma, or cancer.
  • Chronic Conditions – This category includes autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Symptoms of Lymph Node Swelling

In many cases, swelling behind the ear may not be painful but tender to the touch. Other times, pain might be noticeable, especially when pressure is applied to the area. If lymph nodes are swollen due to infection, the swelling is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Scratchy Throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Body Aches

When Do Swollen Lymph Nodes Require Medical Attention

How much swelling you should be concerned with depends on two main factors: if the swelling occurs suddenly and if other symptoms accompany it. If other symptoms accompany the swelling, those might be reason enough for you to see a healthcare provider, such as a doctor for a viral infection or an audiologist for hearing loss. However, the instances below are additional reasons to seek medical attention for swollen lymph nodes:

  • If swelling persists for an extended time
  • The size of the swelling is a half inch or larger
  • It’s accompanied by skin irritation at the site of the swelling
  • Mysterious weight loss
  • Persistent fever
  • Shortness of breath

How Are Swollen Lymph Nodes Treated?

A few different options are available to treat the swelling, and each depends on the cause. An infection can be treated with an antibiotic prescription from your doctor. If there’s a blockage that’s caused conductive hearing loss, an audiologist can provide treatment for those cases. If the cause is minor and doesn’t require a visit to a doctor, such as a slight cold, you can try some home remedies to manage the symptoms of the swelling, including:

  • Apply a warm compress to the area to help alleviate pain and reduce swelling
  • Get adequate rest and stay well-hydrated to aid in the body’s natural healing process
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and discomfort

Ways to Avoid Swollen Lymph Nodes

Since swollen lymph nodes are a defense mechanism to fight illness and infections, staying healthy is the best way to avoid lymph node swelling behind your ears. 

  • Stay hydrated to avoid lymphatic congestion and help your body discharge toxins
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid toxic cleaning chemicals or pesticides that have ingredients that can build up in lymph nodes
  • Explore lymphatic drainage techniques to do at home periodically

Visit Our Hearing Care Centers for Ear Concerns

If you have concerns about your ears, lymph node swelling, or hearing loss, visit a Next Level Hearing Care location in VA, DE, MS, or NC. There are many reasons why lymph nodes behind the ear may swell, most of which are not serious medical conditions. However, if other symptoms accompany the swelling, seek medical attention. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication and home remedies can help relieve inflammation and promote healing, but it is always wise to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about swollen lymph nodes or your ears.

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