Ear Injuries

Auricular (Ear) Haematoma

This injury occurs mainly in rugby scrums, boxing or wrestling as a result of a shearing blow. Repeated injury can lead to chronic swelling, commonly known as ‘cauliflower’ ear.

Presentation

  • Tender, tense, collection of blood, usually in the front of the ear lobe.
  • The overlying skin may be red or bruised.

Management

  • Apply ice and firm compression to the acute haematoma (sudden bruising).
  • Carefully pack a pressure dressing (cotton wool soaked in collodion) against the ear, following the contours of the outer ear, and bandage firmly.
  • Ask the parent/ guardian to examine the ear daily to assess progress.
  • The player may return to non-contact sports immediately but protective headgear is required for return to contact sports.

Prevention

  • Protective headgear (e.g. scrum caps) should be worn to prevent trauma to the ears.

Perforated eardrum

A blow to the side of the head may occasionally injury the eardrum.

Signs

Pain, bleeding from the ear and difficulty in hearing.

Management

  • Should be seen by a doctor.
  • Perforation of the eardrum usually heals spontaneously.
  • Antibiotic therapy may be given to prevent infection.
  • Keep the ear dry until the perforation is healed.