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Ear Discharge

by Debara L. Tucci, MD, MS

Ear discharge (otorrhea) is drainage from the ear. The drainage may be watery, bloody, or thick and whitish, like pus (purulent). Depending on the cause of the discharge, people may also have ear pain, fever, itching, vertigo (see Dizziness and Vertigo), ringing in the ear (tinnitus—see Ear Ringing or Buzzing), and/or hearing loss (see Hearing Loss). Symptoms range from sudden and severe to slowly developing and mild.

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