Ear exam

Temporal Bone (Ear) Tumors

Tumors of the temporal bone (ear) and lateral skull base are quite rare and can be benign or cancerous.

At the Pacific Eye Ear and Skull Base Center, a multidisciplinary team including head & neck surgeons, neurosurgeons, oncologists and audiologists use advanced technology for the accurate diagnosis and treatment of these complex set of tumor types.

Benign tumors of the ear that we treat include:


Cholesterol granulomas



Tumors of the ear and lateral skull base produce a variety of symptoms related to the ear and hearing. Hearing loss and noise in the ear (tinnitus) are most common. Some patients develop pain and drainage. These tumors can also lead to facial weakness and balance problems.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis and treatment are tailored specifically for each patient. Temporal bone tumors are typically diagnosed using CT and MRI imaging. A biopsy is sometimes performed to confirm the diagnosis. Hearing and balance testing are often needed.

Because tumors of the ear and lateral skull base are adjacent to the crucial structures (inner ear, brain) care is taken to treat the tumor without harming the surrounding areas. Minimally invasive surgical excision by our otolaryngology, head & neck, and neurosurgeons is the optimal treatment for most tumors. In some cases, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used as the sole treatment or as an adjuvant.

Written and reviewed by:
We are a highly specialized team of medical professionals with extensive neurological and cranial disorder knowledge, expertise and writing experience.
Last updated: June 7, 2022