ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

What’s Behind Your Hot Ears?

Have you ever felt like your ears was on fire, smoke and all? Yes, you likely have because it’s a quite common occurrence for children and adults alike. But there’s likely no need to worry as hot ears, as the temporary condition is oftentimes called, can be resolved with simple measures.


How do you know when you have hot ears? The symptoms are easy to determine, usually with your ears feeling warm, if not warm, to the touch; the skin on your earlobes turning a reddish color; and possibly a burning sensation. Your ears may or may not feel painful to the touch, and hot ears may affect just one or both ears.



Yes, your ears can become sunburned just as the rest of your body can fry, so to speak, from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. You may have sunbathed for an hour or two in the summer, slathered on sunblock on every nook and cranny of your face and body except for your ears, and ended up with hot ears.


Aside from feeling abnormally warm to the touch, the sunburned skin may also look reddish, flaky or crusty.  You may not even want to touch your affected earlobes because of the discomfort.


Fortunately, hot ears caused by sunburns can be prevented. You should apply sunblock or sunscreen on your outer ears and wear a hat to protect them, if possible. But if your ears become sunburned, you can apply ice packs, aloe vera gel, and hydrocortisone cream for faster healing.



If you’re the type who feels strong emotions, such as anxiety, embarrassment or anger, you may feel hot ears more times. Think of it as your ears blushing in the same way that your face becomes flushed whenever you feel strong emotions.


Don’t worry about hot ears in this case. Your ears will return to their normal temperature and color once you have calmed down.  You may have little to no control over your ears’ reactions to your emotions but at least you know that hot ears aren’t life-threatening.


Temperature Changes

Extremely cold temperatures, such as during the winter months, can result in vasoconstriction wherein there’s reduced blood flow to the body’s surface including the skin. This is the reason why your nose, cheeks and ears appear red when exposed outdoors during the peak of winter.


If you like to engage in winter sports, you will likely get hot ears. Don’t worry as it’s only your body’s attempt at self-regulating blood flow. You can wear ear muffs or caps with covers at the side to keep your ears warm, as well as to protect against sunburn in winter.


Infections and Illnesses

What you should be considered about are the infections and illnesses that may be behind hot ears! If the abovementioned causes aren’t possible, then you should talk to your ENT doctor.


Hot ears can be caused by an underlying medical condition like an ear infection, hormonal changes, and rare illnesses, such as red ear syndrome and erythermalgia.


The good news: Even these rare illnesses are treatable!


For details of our ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT doctor.




HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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