Ear infections can be both painful and dangerous, since they may affect hearing. Aural, or ear canal, polyps are small, noncancerous lumps that can appear in the ear canal or on the eardrum. Treatment is fairly simple and, in most cases, there will be no permanent damage.
Most aural polyps are caused by infections of the external ear, according to ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Mark Loury. The infection, Loury says, can be caused by bacteria or fungi.
Pain, itching and a purulent discharge are the most common symptoms of aural polyps. Hearing may also be affected.
Without treatment, Dr. Loury warns, the polyp may grow and the underlying infection can spread and damage the ear, resulting in increased pain and hearing loss.
Steroid creams and antibiotic ear drops are the standard treatment. If the infection returns, Dr. Laury recommends the use of both a cream and white vinegar. Fungal infections require anti-fungal agents.
The best way to prevent aural polyps from forming is to treat external ear infections before they have the opportunity to spread.