Ear infections and discharging ears can be due to an infection and inflammation of the ear canal skin or the middle ear behind the ear drum.
Outer ear infections – This happens when the dry and eczematous ear canal skin gets infected. It is very important to avoid water getting into the ears while having a shower/bath or during swimming.
Middle ear infections – This can happen due to infection and inflammation which happens in the area just behind the ear drum. Middle ear infections are also extremely common, particularly in children. The most common is acute otitis media which is characterised by a severe earache and high temperature, generally in a child, with associated deafness.
Like an abscess, once the eardrum bursts and the pus comes out of the ear the pain eases. Happily, the eardrum almost always heals once the infection settles and the hearing also returns to normal.
Longer term problems can occur when such infections are frequent, because there can be damage to the eardrum, or perhaps persistent deafness due to fluid remaining behind the eardrum (glue ear).
A second but more serious form of middle ear infection is when it becomes chronic or long-lasting. Generally, chronic middle ear disease is associated with a smelly ear discharge and deafness, but rarely with pain.
Other significant symptoms such as tinnitus, weakness of the face or dizziness can occasionally occur. In these cases treatment usually involves surgery to remove the infection from the middle ear and mastoid bone. To ignore such disease can be potentially dangerous.
Mastoiditis is an acute infection of the mastoid bone which surrounds the ear. It is much less common than in previous decades, but certainly still occurs, especially in toddlers, and it needs urgent treatment. The condition needs to be recognised and treatment would involve intravenous antibiotics and rarely mastoid surgery.
Mr. Dhanasekar treats these infections by clearing the ear canal debris and infection with microsuction in clinic. He would also prescribe topical antibiotic ear drops and sometimes oral antibiotics.