Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower ear is also known as hematoma auris. It is a deformity of the outer ear caused by repetitive friction or impact. It is common in contact sports that do not use head protection.


Cauliflower ear is a result of repeated injury and so may be symptom-free. The initial injuries are usually contusions, symptoms of which include pain, swelling, bruising and a deformed appearance of the outer ear. In severe cases, the hearing may be affected, with a loss of hearing and a ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.


Initial treatment of contusions should include ice or other forms of cold therapy. Ice or a cold pack can be applied for 5 to 10 minutes in a wet tea towel to avoid skin burns. The ear is sensitive with blood close to the surface so do not apply cold for long periods of time.

Anti-inflammatories may be prescribed by a doctor. Blood may be drained through an incision in the skin of the ear and a compressive dressing applied. Anti-biotics may be administered if necessary. If it causes hearing problems, the individual should be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.