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Having sharp ear pain with smelly discharge. No relief from wearing ear tube. What is going on?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1984
Answered : 1971 Questions
For the past 18 months, I have been dealing with problems with my right ear. I had had tubes in several months prior when one night my right eardrum erupted after sharp pains and a lot of snap, crackle & popping sounds. I did not have anything else going on at that time (i.e. sinus problems, etc.) During this 18 months, it has erupted countless times and the discharge is smelly and looks like "orange snot" per my ENT. I saw him 4-5 times last year, he vacuumed that ear and put in a bigger tube. I told him that every time I wear my hearing aid, the eruption happens. Sometimes it happens when I'm not wearing it but for the most part it comes after having the aid in. At my last visit, my ENT stated "he has not idea what is going on".

My family doctor is going to send me to another ENT but I would be curious what your opinion is on this problem. I should also say that my lymph nodes under my jaw on that same side are almost always tender and at times swollen. I have lost almost all of my hearing in that ear as well.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you!

Posted Wed, 8 May 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. A.K. Srivastava 2 hours later

Thanks for writing to H.C.M. For your query.

I have gone through your query regarding Ear trouble for last 18 months initially you were having shooting pain in your ear so your ent doctor had put grommet in your ear. Even after putting grommet in your ear you have so many episodes of sharp pains and lot of snap, crackle & popping sound. You have visited your ENT so many times and he always sucked out the mucous discharge and put tube of bigger size. The discharge which is comming out is having smell likeorange snot, and you have lost hearing in that ear. At the same time you have developed lymph nodes under your jaw on same side these are painful nodes.

Your history of illness indicates that you are not having only eustachian tube obstruction but there is something wrong in your ear, which may be the disease of ear only or may be associated with disease of sinuses or nasopharynx.

Here I am advicing you few basic investigations please go through these to find out the real fact-

(a) C.T.scan of the ear (HRCT).

(b) C.T.scan of paranasal sinuses.

(c) Audiometery ( Pure tone & Impedance )

(d) FNAC from enlarge lymph nodes below the jaw.

After this a thorough examination and clinical co-relation of inferences of investigation will help to reach to final diagnosis and than only treatment may be plan.

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