skip to Main Content


A glomus, also called a paraganglioma, is a noncancerous tumor that is locally invasive and arises from the glomus cells of the middle ear. These tumors are highly vascularized and usually occur solitarily. They grow slowly and therefore are often caught before any adverse complications occur.

They can be found in the jugular bulb, middle ear, and carotid artery. They can also occur in the parapharyngeal space along the vagus nerve (in the deep neck).


Symptoms of a glomus tumor differ based on its location.

Glomus Tympanicum (middle ear):

  • Hearing loss
  • Bleeding from the ear
  • Pulsating sound or ringing in the ear

Glomus Vagale (deep neck):

  • Voice hoarseness
  • Facial muscle paralysis
  • Painless mass in the neck

Carotid body glomus (carotid artery):

  • Painless mass in the neck that can cause no symptoms
  • Large tumors:
    • Voice hoarseness
    • Difficulty swallowing

Glomus Jugulare (jugular bulb):

  • Hearing loss
  • Ear pain
  • Bleeding from the ear
  • Pulsations in the ear

If a jugular bulb glomus compresses nearby cranial nerves, it can cause:

  • Facial weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Tongue weakness
  • Shoulder droop

Rarely, a jugular bulb glomus can produce norepinephrine (a nervous system hormone), which can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure


  • CT scan or MRI – allows your doctor to visualize the tumor and its specific location
  • Angiogram – glomus tumors are highly vascularized, so your doctor may request a special X-Ray that takes images of your blood vessels. A long, flexible catheter is inserted through the bloodstream and injects a contrast dye so visualize the blood vessels.

The only way to treat a glomus is through surgical removal.

Back To Top