A novel time–frequency analysis method called complementary complete ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) with adaptive noise (CCEEMDAN) is proposed to analyze nonstationary vibration signals. CCEEMDAN combines the advantages of improved EEMD with adaptive noise and complementary EEMD, and it improves decomposition performance by reducing reconstruction error and mitigating the effect of mode mixing. However, because white noise mixed in with the raw vibration signal covers the whole frequency bandwidth, each mode inevitably contains some mode noise, which can easily inundate the fault-related information. This paper proposes a time–frequency analysis method based on CCEEMDAN and minimum entropy deconvolution (MED) for fault detection of rolling element bearings. First, a raw signal is decomposed into a series of intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) by using the CCEEMDAN method. Then a sensitive parameter (SP) based on adjusted kurtosis and Pearson's correlation coefficient is applied to select a sensitive mode that contains the most fault-related information. Finally, the MED is applied to enhance the fault-related impulses in the selected IMF. The fault signals of high-speed train axle-box bearing are applied to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. Results show that the proposed method can effectively reveal axle-bearing defects’ fault information. The comparisons illustrate the superiority of SP over kurtosis for selecting the sensitive mode from the resulted signal of CCEEMEDAN. Further, we conducted comparisons that highlight the superiority of our proposed method over individual CCEEMDAN and MED methods and over two other popular signal-processing methods, variational mode decomposition and fast kurtogram.