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What Causes Bad Smell In Ear

What Causes Bad Smell In Ear

If you're experiencing an unpleasant smell behind your ears and are wondering what could be causing it, then you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll explore the possible causes of the smell behind the ears, the symptoms you can expect, and the treatments that can help you get rid of the unpleasant odor.

What causes smell behind ears?

The smell behind your ears can be due to many different factors. Depending on the cause, the smell can be slightly sour, musty, or even sweet. Here are some of the causes that you should be aware of:

1. Sweat

The skin behind your ears is prone to sweating, especially during hot weather or after engaging in physical activities. When the sweat evaporates, it leaves behind bacteria that can cause an unpleasant smell. Wearing a headband or wiping your ears with a clean cloth can help you prevent excessive sweating and the resulting odor.

2. Sebum

Sebum is the oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It helps to moisturize and protect the skin but can also accumulate behind the ears, resulting in a greasy feeling and smell. Proper hygiene, such as regular washing of the ears with a gentle soap, can help prevent this problem.

3. Ear infections

Ear infections, such as otitis externa and otitis media, can cause an unpleasant smell behind the ears. Other symptoms of ear infections include pain, itching, discharge, and fever. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent complications and to treat the underlying infection.

4. Poor hygiene

If you don't regularly clean your ears, dead skin cells, dirt, and oils can accumulate and cause a foul smell. Using a cotton swab to clean the ears can actually push the debris further into the ear canal and cause an infection. Instead, use a damp cloth to gently wipe the outside of your ears and avoid inserting anything into your ears.

5. Fungal infections

Fungal infections, such as tinea versicolor, can thrive in the moist and warm environment behind the ears. These infections can cause a musty smell and discoloration of the skin. Antifungal medications can be used to treat the infection and prevent it from recurring.

What are the symptoms of smell behind ears?

Aside from the unpleasant odor, there are other symptoms that may accompany the smell behind your ears:

  • Itching
  • Bumps or pimples
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Scaly or flaky skin
  • Discharge or pus

These symptoms can be due to various factors, so it's important to seek medical attention if they persist or worsen over time.

What are the treatments for smell behind ears?

The treatment for smell behind your ears depends on the underlying cause. Here are some treatments you can try:

1. Proper hygiene

Proper hygiene can help prevent and alleviate the smell behind your ears. This includes regularly washing the ears with a gentle soap, wiping the ears with a damp cloth, and avoiding inserting anything into the ears. You should also keep your hair away from your ears and wear a headband during physical activities.

2. Antifungal medication

If the smell is due to a fungal infection, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication to treat the infection. These medications come in the form of creams, ointments, or oral pills, depending on the severity of the infection.

3. Antibiotics

If the smell is due to an ear infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. The course of antibiotics may last for a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.


While smell behind the ears can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem, it's usually not a serious health concern. By practicing proper hygiene and seeking prompt medical attention for infections, you can prevent and treat the underlying causes of the smell. If you're still experiencing the odor after trying these treatments, consult with your doctor or dermatologist to rule out any underlying medical conditions.


Image 1: Pin on Diagnostic

Smell Behind Ears

Image 2: Smell Behind Ears Causes, Symptoms and Treatments