A patient with a hole in the eardrum can get chronic otitis media. This means that there is a hole in the eardrum, long-standing infections, and drainage from the ear canal (otorrhea). The infection slowly wears away the middle ear bones.
Chronic otitis media occurs when, despite treatment, drainage of fluid or pus and hearing loss persists longer than six weeks. This is dangerous because the infection can spread to the inner ear, the facial nerve or the brain. These kinds of long-standing infections also can dissolve the middle ear bones, making surgical repair more complex.
Symptoms include intermittent or persistent drainage of cloudy fluid or foul-smelling pus from the ear, or hearing loss.
Our physicians check for perforation of the eardrum or a skin cyst — also called a cholesteatoma — within the eardrum or middle ear (visible on examination with an otoscope), drainage of cloudy fluid or foul-smelling pus from the ear and hearing loss. In some cases, surgery is indicated.
Management usually requires surgery.