Chronic Ear Infection Outline

Chronic Otitis Media, Chronic Supprative Otitis Media

Childhood to Adult


  • Usually painless
  • Draining ear
  • Hearing loss

Sometimes the child will have a history of ventilation tubes in the ear and develop a draining ear. This usually happens after the patient gets water in the ear.


  • Ear drum—Perforation (hole)
  • Yellow or greenish drainage (Purulent)
  • Reddish granulation tissue

It is not normal for any ear to drain. However some parents believe that the ear will drain because it has a tube in it. This is not correct.


  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Tympanometry – unable to get a seal
  • Collection for culture


  • Antibiotic ear drops
  • Antibiotics by mouth
  • Cleaning out the ear by the doctor

It usually takes a few weeks to clear this type of infection. On occasion the tube will have to be removed. Rarely the child will need mastoid surgery to clear up the infection. Adults with this problem are more likely to need mastoid surgery.

All patients with this problem need to be seen by their doctor.

If a person has a tube or a hole in the ear drum, they should not get any water in the ear. If there is a hole for any length of time, it should be repaired by a surgery.