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Ear discharge Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Ear discharge. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the ear discharge?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic. Acute ear discharge suggests acute otitis media (middle ear infection) with a rupture of the ear drum or an otitis externa (outer ear infection), especially if have ear pain. A chronic ear discharge may suggest cholesteatoma, chronic otitis media and possible cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) after a head injury.

  2. What is the nature of the discharge?

    Why: A mucopurulent discharge (mucous to pus-like) suggests chronic otitis media and mastoiditis. A offensive discharge with whitish debris suggests cholesteatoma. A clear discharge may suggest cerebrospinal fluid. A bloody discharge may suggest myringitis bullosa.

  3. Have you had a recent upper respiratory tract infection?

    Why: e.g. sore throat, runny nose, sinusitis - may suggest acute otitis media with perforation as cause of discharge or myringitis bullosa (occurs with influenza, Haemophilus influenza and mycoplasma pneumoniae infections).

  4. Have you been swimming recently and where?

    Why: may suggest otitis externa.

  5. Has there been any trauma to ear canal?

    Why: may suggest otitis externa.

  6. Have you put anything into the ear canal?

    Why: e.g. ear bud - may suggest foreign body.

  7. Has there been recent diving or flying?

    Why: may suggest barotrauma to ear drum and may present with pain, deafness, dizziness, ringing in the ears and sometimes a discharge.

  8. Has there been a recent head injury?

    Why: may suggest a base of skull fracture and consequent cerebrospinal fluid leak.

  9. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. allergic skin conditions such as eczema may predispose to otitis externa.

  10. Ear pain?

    Why: may suggest acute otitis media (most likely), otitis externa, foreign body, serous otitis media or myringitis bullosa. The location of the ear pain may also assist in diagnosis e.g. in ear, behind ear or below the ear.

  11. Fever?

    Why: suggests otitis media, mastoiditis and petrositis.

  12. Hearing loss?

    Why: may suggest acute otitis media, chronic otitis media, otitis externa, foreign body, barotrauma.

  13. Symptoms of acute otitis media with perforation?

    Why: e.g. deep-seated ear pain, deafness , fever, a discharge may follow if the tympanic membrane ruptures which results in relief of pain and fever.

  14. Symptoms of otitis externa?

    Why: e.g. itching at first, pain, fullness feeling in the ear canal, mild discharge, hearing loss.

  15. Symptoms of acute mastoiditis?

    Why: e.g. pain, swelling and tenderness developing behind the ear associated with general deterioration in well-being and mucous to pus-like ear discharge.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Ear discharge:

The following list of conditions have 'Ear discharge' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Ear discharge or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Ear discharge:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Ear discharge' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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