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Ear Discharge (Otorrhoea)

What is Ear Discharge (Otorrhoea)?

Even healthy ears will produce some earwax, however some ears will discharge more, with foul smelling, thick or watery discharge possible. This may be associated with pain but can be painless.

What is the cause of Ear Discharge (Otorrhoea)?

An infection of the ear canal may cause a painful discharge from an otherwise normal ear, a condition called Otitis externa. This most commonly occurs when people have been dipping in and out of a swimming pool on holiday but can happen at any time. The condition may settle with antibiotic eardrops, but removal of the debris from the ear is often necessary.

If the ear discharge recurs frequently, or is painless, there is often an underlying problem with the ear drum or ear canal. This may be a hole or retraction pocket , or trapped skin.

What treatment is available?

The first step in treating a discharging ear is generally to remove the debris and discharge under the microscope  to allow thorough assessment of the ear. Microsuction and the application of appropriate drops or cream to the ear may be all that is required. For some patients surgery will be recommended to correct an underlying problem (such as a perforation or cholesteatoma) and stop the issue from recurring.

Ear Discharge Specialists

All our private ENT specialists at OneWelbeck in London are leaders in their sub-specialties, providing the highest quality treatment to ensure you receive the best available care. Click on the profiles below to see which of our consultants can help with ear discharge.

Get in touch

To speak with a specialist about Ear Discharge (Otorrhoea), contact our team today.
We are available from Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.

Information For GPs

If you are a GP and would like to refer a patient, ask a question or enquire about our education events, please visit our dedicated GP page, by clicking here.