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Ear swelling Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Ear swelling. 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 swelling?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Where exactly is the ear swelling?

    Why: e.g. ear drum (otitis media or myringitis bullosa), ear canal (otitis externa or furunculosis) or pinna of the ear (perichondritis, cauliflower ear, warts, skin tumor or infected ear lobe).

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

    Why: e.g. sore throat, runny nose, sinusitis - may suggest acute otitis media 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 and resultant otitis externa infection.

  7. Is the redness around a hole for an ear ring?

    Why: suggest infected ear lobe. Often due to contact allergy to nickel or chromium in an ear ring.

  8. Has there been trauma or surgery to the ear lobe or pinna of the ear?

    Why: trauma to the pinna of the ear (e.g. via contact sports) may result in a haematoma (localized mass of clotted blood) and later perichondritis (inflammation of the pinna cartilage) or abscess formation. If the haematoma or abscess is not surgically drained correctly it will result in a "cauliflower ear" deformity due to destruction of the cartilage.

  9. Past history of skin conditions?

    Why: e.g. eczema, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis may occur in the ear canal and on the pinna of ear and cause redness and itch. Each of these skin conditions may then be complicated by an outer ear infection which will cause ear canal swelling, redness, pain, discharge and sometimes hearing loss.

  10. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. allergic skin conditions such as eczema may predispose to otitis externa; medical conditions that may increase risk of recurrent middle ear infections include selective IgA deficiency, common variable immunodeficiency, X-linked agammaglobulinaemia, recurrent adenoiditis, Wegener's granulomatosis, HIV infection and obstructive sleep apnea; diabetes predisposes to furunculosis.

  11. Ear pain?

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

  12. Ear discharge?

    Why: may suggest acute otitis media (middle ear infection) with a rupture of the ear drum, otitis externa (outer ear infection), foreign body or myringitis bullosa, especially if have ear pain.

  13. Fever?

    Why: suggests otitis media or furunculosis.

  14. Hearing loss?

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

  15. Symptoms of acute otitis media?

    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.

  16. Symptoms of otitis externa?

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

  17. Symptoms of perichondritis?

    Why: e.g. infection of the cartilage of the ear characterized by severe pain of the pinna of the ear which is red, swollen and exquisitely tender.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Ear swelling:

The following list of conditions have 'Ear swelling' 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 swelling or choose View All.

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