Chronic Ear Infection Discussion

Drainage from the middle ear is not normal. This is a medical condition known as CHRONIC OTITIS MEDIA or Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media. People with this problem can have long term drainage of infection from the ear, coming through the ear drum.

The condition can start after a person gets water in the ear when there is a middle ear ventilation tube or a hole in the ear drum. The water goes through the opening in the drum and takes bacteria in with it. The bacteria then sets up an infection which drains out of the ear.

The condition is often painless but does cause a hearing loss. The drainage can have a foul smell to it. On occasion people can experience dizziness with this type of infection. On examination the ear drum will either have a middle ear ventilation tube present or a perforation through the drum. There will be yellowish to green type drainage in the ear canal. Occasionally there can be blood mixed in with the drainage.

Treatment consists in taking antibiotics by mouth, putting antibiotic drops into the ear and cleaning the ear canal. Most of the time, these infections will clear up within a week or two. On occasion, if there is a tube in the ear drum, the tube will have to be removed before the infection will heal. There are a small number of people who will need to have mastoid surgery to clear up the infection.

Mastoid surgery involves scraping the mastoid bone to remove as much of the infected lining as possible. Chronic Otitis Media is best prevented by not getting any water in the ear if a tube or hole is present in the ear drum.