Drainage from the ear can be a disconcerting sight and feeling. Before worrying about major health issues or hearing loss, it is important to understand the possible causes of ear drainage.
Ear infection symptoms
Ear infections are a common cause of ear drainage. Ear infections occur when a viral or bacteria infection affects the middle ear.
Foreign bodies in the ear may have been accidentally or intentionally inserted into the ear (ever try to clean the ears with a cotton swab?).
Otitis externa is an outer ear infection in the tube separating the opening of the ear to the eardrum.
Middle ear problems
Middle ear infections can also cause drainage. Otherwise known as otitis media, this type of ear infection also occurs from a virus or bacteria. These cause the area behind the eardrum to become inflamed, red and sore.
Should an infection get really bad, mastoiditis can develop. Mastoiditis is an infection that develops in the mastoid bone after a middle ear infection blocks the Eustachian tube and moves toward the mastoid bone.
Discharge and ear health
A foul smelling discharge could likely be caused by malignant otitis externa. This occurs when an ear infection spreads to the outer ear and surrounding tissue.
Head injuries, which damage the brain, skull or scalp, can also cause ear discharge. This condition is considered a medical emergency; individuals should go to their nearest urgent care center to seek help from a physicians.
Damage to the ear
Another emergency that could cause ear drainage is an eardrum rupture. When the eardrum ruptures, a small hole or tear occurs in the eardrum. Also called the tympanic membrane, this thin tissue vibrates when sound enters the eardrum.
Another malady causing ear discharge is cholesteatoma, a noncancerous cyst that develops in the ear.
Trauma to the head
Lastly, skull fractures, defined as any break in the cranial bone or skull, can cause bleeding, bruising, pain or swelling, subsequently causing ear drainage. If you or someone has been in an accident or has experienced a fall on the head, it is important to visit an urgent care center.
Most important to remember with ear discharge is that an audiologist is the first line of defense for helping identify the cause of the discharge. These professionals will be able to help find a solution to cure the malady causing the ear discharge.