Ear, Nose & Throat

Dried blood in ear- 7 Causes, Complications, Diagnosis, 5 Treatments

Dried blood in ear can be a terrifying symptom because the ear is a very delicate organ of the body, and hearing plays a vital role in our survival. Without hearing, and normal functioning of the ear, life becomes very difficult as we cant communicate without hearing.

Dried blood in ear can be seen after there is blood in ear canal due to various reasons ranging from mechanical causes like trauma to the eardrum to more severe causes like cancer of the ear. Let us explore more about the causes of dried blood in ear, the complications caused by it, the diagnosis of the reasons behind having dry blood in ear, and also the treatment of the disorders causing bleeding in the ear canal.

Dried blood in ear or blood in ear canal causes:

dried blood in ear
Image source: cafemom.com
Eardrum rupture or tear:

We have three parts in our ear. They are the inner ear, middle ear, and the external ear or outer ear. The eardrum is a very delicate structure. It is present as a separation between the middle ear and the external ear. It is also known as tympanic membrane.

Any tear or rupture of the eardrum can lead to blood in ear canal, which we which notice as Dried blood in ear canal later on. Eardrum can be ruptured due to the foreign body in ear canal, loud noises due to crackers, traffic, during festivals and gatherings, etc.

Some people notice blood on Q-tip after cleaning ear. This is mostly due to rupture of eardrum with excess pressure from Q-tip. Sometimes it can also be due to the breach of skin or injury of skin over the ear.

There are many symptoms caused by rupture or tear of eardrum apart from dry blood in ear like:

  • Tinnitus or ringing sensation in ear or buzzing sound in ear
  • Pain in the ear
  • Vertigo (Dizziness or feeling like we are spinning or the surroundings are moving)
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Hearing impairment
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Foreign body in the ear canal:

Sometimes kids might put any foreign body into their ears, and nose while playing. Also, adults might push the earbuds too deep into the ear canal or some people might even use sharp objects to remove the wax from the ear canal. All these foreign bodies can puncture or tear the eardrum, leading to bleeding in ear canal, which might be seen as Dried blood in ear.

There are many symptoms of having an injury caused by a foreign object in the ear like:

  • Discharge of fluid from the ear
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Vertigo or feeling of spinning
  • Hearing impairment
  • Nausea, Vomiting, etc
Infection of the middle ear or Otitis media:

Any part of the ear can get infected due to certain types of bacteria and viruses. Infection of the middle ear causes swelling or inflammation of the middle ear. This is known as otitis media. Otitis media can lead to several symptoms along with dry blood in ear like:

  • Pus or fluid discharge from the ear
  • Severe ear pain (small kids with otitis media cant express pain, so they keep pulling their ear continuously due to pain)
  • Fever or raised temperature
  • Difficulty in balancing the body while walking or ataxia
  • Vertigo
  • Insomnia or problems with sleeping
Head injury:

Head injury can be really traumatic. Head can be injured when you meet with an accident, when you fall from a height or when you fall from any vehicle or when someone hits you on purpose on your head. When you have a head injury, there is bleeding from around the brain.

This is manifested as bleeding from the ear, and nose. So, if you notice any bleeding from ear canal or nose, or dried blood in ear, or clear fluid discharge from ear or nose after a head injury, you need to go to a hospital immediately, as it can be dangerous. There are several other symptoms of head injury like:

  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Change in the consciousness level
  • A severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • Insomnia
A sudden change of altitude:

If you change the altitude, from a low lying area to high lying area suddenly, this can cause barotrauma to your ears. The sudden increase of altitude from flying in an airplane or flight, or sudden decrease of altitude while doing scuba diving or bungee jumping, etc, can cause rupture or tear of your eardrum leading to bleeding from ear canal or dried blood in ear.

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This can cause several symptoms like:

  • Pain or discomfort in the ear
  • Tinnitus or buzzing sounds in the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Vertigo or spinning of the head
Ear canal carcinoma or cancer:

Cancer of the ear canal is not a very common condition. It occurs in very few people. People suffering from this condition can have symptoms like:

  • A severe headache
  • Vision abnormalities
  • Numbness or tingling or Paresthesia in the face
  • Pain in the ear
  • Feeling full in the ear
Injury to the skin over the ear:

Sometimes bleeding from ear canal or dry blood in ear can be caused by simple causes like an injury to the skin over the ear. It can be caused by using Q tip to clean the ear wax with excess force. It can also be caused if your ear piercings get infected or if your skin over ears becomes irritated due to any cause.

Some skin disorders like Eczema can also cause bleeding from the skin over ear due to excessive itching which makes us scratch a lot. If there is any boil in the ear, it can burst and lead to the release of pus and also bleeding in ear canal. It is not a very serious problem, and it will resolve on its own.

Complications of dried blood in ear or bleeding in ear canal:

The ear is a very sensitive organ. You need to be really cautious when there is any problem associated with the ear. Any cause of ear bleeding needs immediate medical attention. So, if you are having to bleed from ears or dried blood in ear, you need in contact an ENT doctor immediately. Otherwise, it can lead to several complications like:

  • Permanent hearing impairment
  • Prolonged tinnitus or having buzzing sounds in the ear
  • Difficulties in perceiving the language
  • A headache
  • Spinning of head
  • Ataxia or difficulty in balancing while walking

When to see a doctor:

When you have any bleeding from ear, even if its minor or severe, you need to consult an ENT surgeon for sure. If its minor problem requiring antibiotics your doctor will do the needful. If it is a major problem, you will need it to get corrected as soon as possible to avoid any complications like mentioned above.

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Dried blood in ear or bleeding in ear canal diagnosis:

When you go to a doctor with the complaint of bleeding from ear canal or dried blood in ear, he will take a detailed history from you regarding the ear bleeding, the time of onset, the severity, the causes which led to the bleeding from ear, etc.

He will also perform a physical exam of the ear, nose, throat, and head. He might also use an otoscope, an instrument used to examine the internal structures of the ear. If necessary, he might ask you to get Full blood count or Complete blood count done to see if there is an elevation of white blood cells or WBC’s suggesting infection.

If there is any history of head injury prior to developing bleeding, your physician will order a CT scan of the head to see if there is any injury or damage to the brain. If the ear bleeding is heavy, you might even need to get admitted to a hospital.

Dried blood in ear or bleeding in ear canal Treatment:

If you notice any bleeding from ears, your physician will suggest any combination of the treatments below.

Ear protection:

As your ear is injured leading to bleeding, you need to protect your ears with cotton earplugs. These earplugs prevent entry of dust, and water into the ears which might further worsen the condition.


If you have developed infection of the ear like Otitis media, you will be given antibiotics to kill the bacteria. You will most likely be given an antibiotic called amoxicillin.


We have discussed the symptoms of most of the conditions causing dried blood in ear. Most of these conditions cause severe pain in the ears. Your physician might prescribe you painkillers to help you get relief from the pain.

Warm compress:

Placing a warm compress over the painful ear can help to get some relief from the pain. But, ensure you use warm compress only after the suggestion of your doctor.


Your physician might ask you to observe for any changes in the bleeding pattern or development of any new symptoms for the majority of conditions. This is because most of the disorders causing dried blood in ear can resolve by themselves without any intervention.

But, this is only decided by a physician if he thinks there is nothing much serious now. But, you should never take a decision of your own to observe without consulting an ENT surgeon.

You have seen the causes, diagnosis, complications, and treatment options of bleeding in ear canal or dried blood in ear. Hope this article is informative and helpful.

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com
  2. https://www.healthline.com

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