8 answers

Drainage from Ears

My Son who is 32 months old had ear tubes put in last feb since he was having a series of ear infections.Now after a year they are still there and last week there was a little drainage from his right ear.We used some ear drops ( with advice frm his ENT) and he suggested that probably the ear drum is pushing the tubes out .Now this week his left ear has started having some drainage and he is also running a fever.Is this a normal thing to happen before the tubes come out? Has anyone experienced this with kids who had tubes?

I am really worried and any replies would be appreciated

What can I do next?

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My son has tubes in his ears 3 times. The drainage is normal and sometimes it will smell really bad. But the fever is not normal. Its been 9 yrs but my sons dr told me never to put ear drops in an open ear drum.

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My son experienced this. Drainage is not uncommon but it probably does mean there is infection with tubes it just means that drops will treat the infection directly and often times quicker. You probably need to see your ent.

Good morning,
My name is J. and I am an Audiologist. The drainage is most likely from an infection that is in his middle ear space but since the tubes are functioning properly, the fluid is able to drain out of the ear instead of being trapped behind the eardrum. The reason your ENT thinks the tubes are coming out is that after about a year, the tube will naturally migrate out of the eardrum and upon his microscopic exam of the eardrums he probably saw that movement. I saw some children lose their tubes within 6 months and others that held onto them for 2 years! It depends on the rate of growth of the childs eardrum.
As far as the drainage, don't worry too much. It is the same as the previous infections however it is not causing a problem with his hearing now because it is able to drain. I would go back to your ENT and see if they can do a culture of the drainage to determine the exact bacteria that is causing the infection so that they are treating with the correct antibiotic. Does you son have allergies? Just a thought because we are coming into allergy season and to have this infection occur now could be a sign of seasonal allergies.
Hope this helps ease your fears and good luck.

Usually when ears have drainage and tubes are in place there is an infection.
I would call the on-call Pedi RN and ask if you can use the drops you were given before- and then take him in for an appointment tomorrow.
This is something that needs to be seen, but can definaltly wait until the office opens- I would NOT go to the ER :-)


My daughter's tubes have been loose in her canals for months. No drainage though. But they won't fall out. Saw the ENT and he said let nature take it's course and that they'd eventually fall out. I have heard though of others with drainage.
The ENT said we could mix up ear drops of 1/2 mineral oil and 1/2 white vinegar and using them twice a week to keep the wax soft so the tubes would fall out. (Haven't done it yet).

My son has tubes in his ears 3 times. The drainage is normal and sometimes it will smell really bad. But the fever is not normal. Its been 9 yrs but my sons dr told me never to put ear drops in an open ear drum.

Hi, S.:

My son is on his 4th set of tubes, and, as others have mentioned, the drainage is from an ear infection. The tubes in the ear drums allow the infection to drain out. My son had this all last week! We went to the ENT last Monday, and he confirmed the infection and put him on CiproDex antibiotic ear drops. The ENT said that oral antibiotics are not nearly as effective as drops at clearing up infections for kids with tubes. He also said that CiproDex is the only antibiotic he'll use, as many aren't strong enough to knock out the infection with one round of treatment. The doctor also said that this set of tubes was most likely "on their last legs" and told me he could tell because a) they were surrounded with wax (which he removed) and b) the ear drums were starting to push the tubes out. My son is repaired cleft lip/palate, and tubes are the only way we can keep his ears clear of fluid (he has very little eustachian function), so I'm sure we'll be in for set 5 here in a couple months!!


My son has had 5 sets of tubes. If the tubes are draining a brown sticky substance, that means they are working. If they are clogged, your child would not have any drainage, but lots of pain, and if you looked in his ear you may possibly see the bulging tube. But your child is more than likely trying to get an ear infection.

My son also has tubes in his ears and they have told me that drainage definitely means infection so I would definitely call them first thing in morning especially since he has a fever as well.

Good Luck and I hope he gets better soon.

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