Objective Ear-EEG is recording of electroencephalography from a small device in the ear. This is the first study to compare ictal and interictal abnormalities recorded with ear-EEG and simultaneous scalp-EEG in an epilepsy monitoring unit. Methods We recorded and compared simultaneous ear-EEG and scalp-EEG from 15 patients with suspected temporal lobe epilepsy. EEGs were compared visually by independent neurophysiologists. Correlation and time-frequency analysis was used to quantify the similarity between ear and scalp electrodes. Spike-averages were used to assess similarity of interictal spikes. Results There were no differences in sensitivity or specificity for seizure detection. Mean correlation coefficient between ear-EEG and nearest scalp electrode was above 0.6 with a statistically significant decreasing trend with increasing distance away from the ear. Ictal morphology and frequency dynamics can be observed from visual inspection and time-frequency analysis. Spike averages derived from ear-EEG electrodes yield a recognizable spike appearance. Conclusions Our results suggest that ear-EEG can reliably detect electroencephalographic patterns associated with focal temporal lobe seizures. Interictal spike morphology from sufficiently large temporal spike sources can be sampled using ear-EEG. Significance Ear-EEG is likely to become an important tool in clinical epilepsy monitoring and diagnosis.