Benign ear cyst or tumor

Alternative Names

Osteomas; Exostoses; Tumor – ear; Cysts – ear; Ear cysts; Ear tumors

Definition of Benign ear cyst or tumor

Benign ear cysts are noncancerous lumps or growths in the ear.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Sebaceous cysts are the most common type of cysts seen in the ear. They are bulging, sac-like collections of dead skin cells and oils produced by oil glands in the skin.


The symptoms of cysts include:

Signs and tests

Benign cysts and tumors are usually discovered during a routine ear examination, which can include hearing tests () and middle ear testing (). 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.

Expectations (prognosis)

Benign ear cysts and tumors are usually slow-growing and may disappear on their own.


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. – 8/3/2010

Ear anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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