Ear Pain or Drainage

Earwax is a light to dark brown or orange discharge that does not have an unpleasant or foul odor. It is normal for earwax to drain from the ear, and it can sometimes look like fluid draining from the ear. Draining earwax usually is not painful.

After bathing, swimming, or inserting drops into the ear, fluid may drain from the ear. This is also normal.

Mild ear pain can mean a variety of minor ear problems that usually are not a cause for concern. Moderate to severe ear pain is more significant when other symptoms of an ear infection are also present. Do not try to remove earwax if you have moderate to severe ear pain or drainage.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised January 9, 2012

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