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"Why is there swelling at the front of my ears?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy is there swelling at the front of my ears?


On both sides of my face I have a weird swelling that is right in front of my ears. If I touch that spot it also hurts. What is right in front of my ears that could be swelling like that?


The thing that rests right in front of both of your ears and can swell is called the parotid gland. It is one of the major glands involved in saliva production, and can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. While it is less common now due to vaccinations, viral parotitis caused by mumps is a classic cause of bilateral parotid swelling. More commonly now, other viruses can cause these issues. Additionally, some people on certain medications or with certain other medical conditions can experience swelling in their salivary glands that can be indicative of a need to change or alter therapy. Depending on your other symptoms, this swelling may be something that will resolve spontaneously, or it may be a sign of something that need to be addressed further. For the most part, bilateral and acute swelling of the parotid gland is not a tumor or cancer, and it is also less likely to be caused by a localized bacterial infection. Your doctor should be able to more fully address your concerns with a simple examination and determination if it is actually the parotid gland that is inflamed. He or she may try to express fluid from the parotid gland itself. Please speak to your doctor.

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