Odor Originating from the Ear

Ear Infection


The ear is divided in three parts:

  • the outer ear (the visible part and the canal leading to the eardrum)
  • the middle ear (the eardrum and tiny bones that amplify sound)
  • the inner ear, where sounds are translated to electrical impulses and sent to the brain.


Any of these three parts can become infected by bacteria, fungi or viruses, resulting in these conditions:

  • otitis externa
  • otitis media
  • serous otitis media
  • infectious myringitis
  • acute mastoiditis
  • vestibular neuronitis
  • herpes zoster of the ear


Bacteria  grow in dark, warm, wet places. A fluid-filled ear is an excellent environment for bacteria. As the infection worsens, not only pain, but also a foul odor coming from the ear can be present.




Cholesteatoma is a growth that occurs in an abnormal location (the skin of the eardrum) due to repeated infection. If the cholesteatoma enlarges , it can ruin the delicate bones around the middle ear. At the beginning of the infection the ear may drain, sometimes with a foul odor. As the cholesteatoma pouch or sac increases in size, it create a full feeling or pressure in the ear, along with hearing loss, dizziness, and facial muscle paralysis. 



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