Discharging ears/Perforated ear drum
A perforated ear drum creates an opening from the middle ear to the outside world thereby predisposing it to recurrent middle ear infections. The infections usually cause a discharging ear which could be messy and may cause a hearing loss due to the bacterial toxins. Some people, however, have a perforated ear drum with no symptoms in which case, they may not require any form of treatment depending on the circumstance.
Surgery is sometimes recommended for this condition. For people who have repeated ear infections or cannot swim because of the risk of getting an ear infection, Mr Olarinde will carefully go through the infections you have had in the past, look at both ears and obtain a hearing test before discussing with you the type of surgery that will be optimal. The commonest procedure to treat a perforated ear drum is a myringoplasty which is an operation to close a hole in the ear drum, but a tympanoplasty to improve hearing may be carried out.
Sometimes a discharging ear may be due to a cholesteatoma. This is infected debris and skin cells trapped in a tiny cleft extending behind and deep to the middle ear. Cholesteatomas cause a foul smelling discharge which may be blood-stained although all blood-stained ear discharges should be assessed for other possible causes. This usually requires surgery (mastoidectomy) to remove all the disease by drilling the bone surrounding the cholesteatoma.