Symptoms & Signs
A chronic, long-term infection in the ear may have less severe symptoms than an acute infection. It may go unnoticed and untreated for a long time.
- Ear pain or discomfort, earache
- Usually mild
- May feel like pressure in the ear
- Pus-like drainage from the ear
- Hearing loss
Note: Symptoms may be continuous or come and go, and may occur in one or both ears.
Diagnosis & Tests
An examination of the ear may show:
- Air bubbles
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Draining fluid from the eardrum
- A hole (perforation) in the eardrum
- The eardrum bulges out or pulls back inward
Tests may include:
- Cultures of the fluid may show bacteria, and these bacteria may be resistant or harder to treat than the bacteria commonly involved in an acute ear infection.
- Skull x-rays or a CT scan of the head or mastoids may show that the infection has spread beyond the middle ear.
- Hearing tests may be needed.
Review Date : 6/2/2009
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.