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What could be the cause of a white patch inside the ear? (photo)

Ear, Nose & Throat Children’s Health

I was cleaning the ear (external auditory canal) for my 9 years old boy when I saw a white dry patch which seems to be covering the ear hole. I’m worried as to what could be the cause, and whether I need to consult a specialist. He says he can hear from this ear. About 2 years ago, he had an ear infection and had to be put on a drip with antibiotics.

What could be the cause of a white patch inside the ear? (photo)
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

It is difficult to tell with certainty (based on the picture provided) what the white patch in your son's ear canal is. Common causes of such appearance in the ear canal include:

1. Earwax (this may not cause any symptoms or can cause some ear blockage/itching when impacted)

2. Foreign body in the ear (Do ask your son if he has inserted anything in his ear)

3. Ear infection -  Bacterial ear infections usually will result in ear pain, discharge and hearing loss. Fungal ear infections may not cause pain but more likely to cause ear itchiness, discharge and hearing loss.

It's best to take your son to see a GP with the appropriate equipments to treat ear conditions or to an ENT Specialist for an assessment and treatment. 

Hope this helps and all the best!


Dr Gan Eng Cern
MBBS, MRCS, MMed, FAMS

38 Irrawaddy Road #08-45
Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
Singapore 329563


1355 views 17 May 2018

I looked closely at your photo but I wonder which "patch" you're referring to?

There is a very tiny whitish speck just inside the opening of the ear which really looks just like a bit of flaky dy skin, probably nothing to worry about.

However, deeper in the ear, there appears to be a larger area of whitish scaly-looking plaque which might be sitting very close to or on the eardrum itself. If your child has had an ear infection before, sometimes this may be a patch of tympanosclerosis which is basically an area of slight benign scarring on the eardrum, which we do see relatively often.

For confirmation and your reassurance, I advise you to get his ear thoroughly checked out by an ENT specialist who can examine the ear carefully under a microscope.

Hope your kiddie stays well!


Dr Annabelle Leong
MBBS (Hons)(London), BSc (Hons), DOHNS (England), FRCS-ORLHNS (England)

The ENT Clinic

Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, #07-46/47
Singapore 329563


1168 views 19 Aug 2018
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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