Blisters on Ears: 10 Causes and Remedies

Blisters on ears are a painful condition. Blisters are small bumps filled with fluid which cause moderate to severe pain. Typically, these blisters grow on outer ear or external ear and the ear canal. In a majority of cases, medical conditions cause blisters on ears. In rare occasions, lifestyle or habits lead to ear blisters. Let us look at the causes of blisters on ears.

We can divide ear into three parts,

  • External ear/outer ear
  • Middle ear
  • Internal ear

These blisters appear mostly in the external ear and occasionally in the middle ear. Mostly, you can notice the blisters on ear cartilage and visible to the naked eyes.

There are many reasons to ear blisters. Sunburns, viral or fungal infections, skin disorders, and some rare disorders like Ramsey Hunt Syndrome causes the ear blisters.

If you notice ear blisters, it may be an indication of a medical condition. While ear infection is the most common cause of the blisters on ears, recurrent bouts of blisters and ear infection needs proper medical intervention.

Let us have a look at the possible causes of the ear blisters.

Causes of Blisters on Ears:

blisters on ears
Blisters on ears
Image source: healthrave.org
Severe sunburn:

It may appear trivial, and many tend to ignore the fact, ‘sunburn.’ In fact, sunburn is one of the hazardous condition with a lot of risk factors.

A severe sunburn easily causes the blisters on ears. Many people who follow the habit of applying sunscreen are likely to ignore the ears. While they cover the exposed skin on face, neck, arms, and legs, the ear is often ignored.

When you are sensitive to sun exposure, you shouldn’t miss covering the ears. Whether you ignore or forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, it may lead to blisters on ears.

It causes redness, sharp pain, and a lot of discomforts.

You can easily identify whether sunburn is the major cause of the blisters on ears. The impact of sunburn shows up in other parts of the body. Sunburned ear blisters go away naturally in a few days when you reduce the sun exposure.

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Otitis Media:

Otitis Media refers to a middle ear infection and indicates a group of an inflammatory condition. This is classified into two types, acute and chronic.

Inflammation of the middle ear due to viral or bacterial infection causes otitis media. It is very common in children.

Accumulation of fluid increases the bacterial buildup which causes inflammation of the ear canal. Sometimes, inflammation or bulging of the eardrum also causes otitis media.

The symptoms of acute otitis media include the following:

  • Ear pain – from moderate to severe pain, sharp pain
  • Tiny blisters on ears which intensifies the pain
  • Mild fever
  • A lot of discomforts
  • Discharge from ear

The infection turns chronic when the symptoms don’t subside.

Otitis Externa:

Otitis Externa means outer ear canal infection. Also called ‘swimmer’s ear’ it is a very common ear infection.

It is common for swimmers, people who have a sensitivity to cold climate, people who have a naturally cold body, etc.

The symptoms of this condition include,

  • Sharp pain in the infected ear
  • Redness of the outer ear
  • Tiny blisters on ears
  • Rarely, decreased hearing

This is more common in swimmers, and they develop blisters on ears frequently. It causes inflammation and pain in the ear canal. While the mild otitis externa easily resolves in a couple of days.

When the eardrum fails to dispel the water or when there is sudden friction or pressure on the ears in dispelling the water, it leads to bacterial or fungal growth.

Folliculitis:

Folliculitis is nothing but the infection and inflammation of the hair follicles. It commonly happens in many people. It is just like ance. Folliculitis causes tiny white-headed bumps.

The body has hair follicles in many parts. The outer ear canal has a minute and invisible hair follicles. Due to fungal or bacterial infection, the follicles become inflamed. The small-headed pimples nearly remain invisible when they grow as blisters on ears. Gradually these blisters appear as small-sized sacs filled with fluid.

It is a short-term condition resolves in a few days. It causes mild pain and discomfort.

Shingles aka Herpes Zoster:

Shingles is a severe and disturbing viral infection. It causes painful blisters which appears like a red rash. It can appear in any part of your body, from head to toe. Also called as herpes zoster, it commonly develops in the torso region.

The virus that causes chickenpox triggers shingles. Rarely, you can develop shingles in the temple, ear lobes, and back of the earlobe.

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Unlike another type of blisters on ears, shingles develop as a patch of blisters. It is an excruciating, itchy and irritating condition.

Unlike the white-headed blisters or tiny red bumps, the blisters on ears appear like clusters. It is contagious and easily spreads to different parts of the body. The risk of shingles is high in adults aged 40 plus years.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome:

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is an advanced or reactivated state of herpes zoster. It is a nerve condition. The outbreak of the shingles (as mentioned above) affects the facial nerves. It aggravates the rashes and blisters. It also causes facial paralysis.

Being a severe viral infection, the virus tends to control the muscles. This is the second most cause of the facial paralysis. About 5 in 1 lakh people develop Ramsay hunt syndrome.

Apart from severe and painful blisters on ears, Ramsay Hunt syndrome also causes hearing loss, blindness and affect the daily activities.

Ear Piercing Infection:

This is the most common infection.  Ear piercing is a common ritual. Babies get their ears pierced when they turn 1 year. Babies develop blisters on ears either due to infection or due to injury caused when piercing.

Apart from the kids, ear piercing infection is also common in aged people. Teens and adult women tend to pierce ears a multiple times. It causes tiny blisters.

The blisters on ears generally develop on the earlobes, closer to the pierced area. It heals in a few days to a few weeks.

Allergic Reaction due to Ear Rings/studs/drops:

Jewellery is available in different metals. You can find a plethora of varieties from gold to plastic. Sometimes, certain metal or earpieces cause an allergic reaction or cause wounds in the lobes. It causes tiny blisters on ears. In other cases wear of an ear stud for a longer period also cause blisters.

Psoriasis:

Rarely, psoriasis affects the children. This is one of the causes that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as a fungal infection. Psoriasis is a skin disorder. Ear blisters are one of the symptoms of this condition. Even physicians treat the condition as a fungal infection.

Bullous Myringitis:

It is a kind of ear infection which forms tiny fluid-filled blisters on the eardrum. It is a very painful condition.

This can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Bullous myringitis differs from other infections in two ways.

  • The blisters grow only on the eardrum. It doesn’t affect behind the eardrum.
  • In other types of infection mentioned above, it affects the eardrum and causes blisters as one of the symptoms. The infection is mainly due to fluid accumulation.
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Remedies for Blisters on Ears:

When you look at the causes of the blisters on ears, mostly it is an outcome of the viral or bacterial infection.

Remedies for the blisters on ears are simple. Since these are symptoms of the infection of the ears, the treatment or the remedy aims at clearing away the infection.

The blisters on ears are visible and easily self-diagnosed.

No remedy – Blisters heal without medication:

No remedy makes a good remedy for ear blisters. The good thing about the remedies for blisters on ears is, most blisters heal without medication. It heals naturally. Your body grows new skin beneath the blisters. It drains the fluid and heals the blisters.

If you develop blisters on ears due to excessive heat

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Apply sunscreen

If you develop blisters due to ear piercing

  • Apply coconut oil or any moisturising cream
  • Do not wear any earring until it heals

If you develop blisters due to allergic metal remove the earpiece. It will heal naturally.

Ear Drops:

For all ear infections, ear drops make the best bet. When the infection clears, it also heals the blisters on ears.

Why should you treat the infection? Infection is the root cause of the blisters. If you don’t attempt clear the infection the blisters and other symptoms continue to aggravate.

However, you should know the type of infection you developed. While fungal ear infection is common, you can develop blisters also due to virus or bacteria. You can use the ear drops as OTC medicine.

For all causes mentioned above, when you suffer from additional symptoms like clogged ears, ear pain, decreased hearing, you can apply the ear drop. However, if you develop a fever or intense pain,  you need additional medication.

Remember, you need to get proper medicine to cure the infections to get rid of the blisters.

Antibiotic Ointments:

To heal the blisters on ears, you can apply the antibiotic ointments. It prevents the outbreak of the blisters.

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