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Chewing nicotine gum. Having pain, itching in ear and found swollen node. Is this an infection?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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I have had problems with my left ear for about 3 years. sometimes in aches or ithes and other times it feels full. I have a small knot in front of my ear when you press on it hard. It does not hurt but I know its there. I figure its a gland or node thats a little swollen. I sometimes think it could be tmj because I used to chew nicotine gum all day for four years when i was trying to quit dipping snuff. I notice when I clean my ear it has smelly wax. I went to the doctor a couple of years ago and he thought it was just an infection.
Posted Thu, 28 Mar 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 8 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Get your ear examined for any wax build-up or infection (especially fungal) and rule out any foreign body in the external ear canal. If the ear drum is visualized, kindly attach the clinical observation notes.

2. The small lump in front of the ear is most likely to be a lymph node. Sub-centimeter lymph nodes may be ignored. You may get a sonography (USG) done to identify the tissue if in doubt. Other possibilities are parotid salivary gland enlargement, pre-auricular cysts, TemporoMandibular Joint (TNJ) problems (history of chewing gum over long periods of time) and so on.

3. Normal ear wax has smell because the ear wax glands are modified sweat glands.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries, I will be available to answer them.

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