An aural polyp is a growth in the outside (external) ear canal or middle ear. It may be attached to the eardrum (tympanic membrane), or it may grow from the middle ear space.
Aural polyps may be caused by:
- Foreign object
Bloody drainage from the ear is the most common symptom. Hearing loss can also occur.
Drainage from the ear
Ear discharge is drainage of blood, ear wax, pus, or fluid from the ear.
Exams and Tests
An aural polyp is diagnosed through an exam of the ear canal and middle ear using an otoscope or microscope.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Your health care provider may first recommend:
- Avoiding water in the ear
- Steroid medicines
- Antibiotic ear drops
If a cholesteatoma is the underlying problem or the condition fails to clear, then surgery may be needed.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have bleeding from an ear or a sharp decrease in hearing.
Chole RA. Chronic otitis media, mastoiditis, and petrositis. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 139.
O'Handley JG, Tobin EJ, Shah AR. Otorhinolaryngology In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 18.
Ear anatomy - illustration
The ear consists of external, middle, and inner structures. The eardrum and the 3 tiny bones conduct sound from the eardrum to the cochlea.
Review Date: 5/17/2018
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.