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What Is an Ear Tag?

An ear tag is a small lump of skin, fat, or in front of the ear that some babies are born with. Doctors can remove ear tags with surgery.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of an Ear Tag?

An ear tag looks like a small bump or mound. Sometimes it attaches to the skin on a thin stem. Ear tags are painless, and can happen on one or both ears. Most babies with an ear tag are healthy. Occasionally, a child with an ear tag may have hearing loss.

What Causes Ear Tags?

An ear tag happens early in pregnancy when the baby is just starting to form. The parts of the ear don’t come together quite right and an ear tag forms. Why this happens isn’t clear. Ear tags can run in families. Rarely, they are part of a genetic syndrome (such as Goldenhar syndrome).

How Are Ear Tags Diagnosed?

Usually, doctors will see and diagnose an ear tag at birth. They’ll do an exam to make sure the baby has no medical problems. Most babies get a hearing test as a part of regular newborn screening. If the hearing test results show a problem, the doctor will order more tests.

How Are Ear Tags Treated?

Ear tags aren’t harmful to health. But sometimes an older child or parent might want a surgeon to remove an ear tag if they don’t like how it looks. Ear tags don’t grow back after they’re removed.

What Else Should I Know?

Most children with an ear tag are healthy and have normal hearing. Follow your doctor’s instructions on whether any follow-up care is needed. If you want to have the ear tag removed, talk to your doctor about finding a surgeon who can help.

Medically reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date reviewed: September 2022