Question:

My ear is plugged and has a strange odor – what can I do?

Answer:

There are several possibilities causing an odor, but no pain. Usually a foul odor is a sign of an infection, but not all infections are painful.

The ear can be blocked from an outer ear (ear canal) obstruction- from wax, foreign bodies or drainage most commonly- a middle ear problem- i.e. something going on in the space between the ear drum- or the inner ear- where the hearing and balance organs are.

One important thing to know, is whether there is drainage from the ear and whether pulling on the ear lobe is uncomfortable.

I wish I could make the diagnosis for you- but it seems like you’ll need to have the ear examined to give you an answer. I wouldn’t attempt to wash out the ear our use wax drops yourself- as this would likely worsen an outer ear infection.

R Pincus MD