I have had ear problems all of my life and had a tympanoplasty and mastoid surgery in my right ear 33 years ago. I always had my ears microsuctioned, then 9 years ago I started having pain in my right ear. I was told I had a retracted eardrum but it was nothing to worry about, eventually I had exploratory surgery and they removed a piece of plastic (remanents from first surgery). I still got the pain but was discharged. I then had to have my ears syringed at my surgery, I also resorted to using ear candles. The pain got worse - in my eardrum, behind my ear and up the side of my head and eye. I got a referral to an ENT surgeon, had a CT scan and was told there was nothing wrong and that I didn't get pain in my ear!
Discharged again, another year went by with pain getting worse and clear discharge at night. I went to a private microsuction clinic, the Dr there said I needed another referral and to be insistent as he thought I needed a T tube put in. Saw another Dr, had a hearing test and found I was hard of hearing, but in my left ear, he looked at my scan and said I had a perforation in my left ear but my right ear was fine. Had the surgery 3 weeks ago, it took 3 hours as he found a large Cholesteatoma and he had to remove my hearing bones, got to have more surgery and reconstruction in a year. The Dr was shocked as it had not shown up on the CT scan, however he is now concerned about my right ear and I'm waiting for an MRI which will show him if he's managed to get all of the C-toma out and also if I do have one in my right ear (I suspect I have). Be insistent and ask to see a surgeon who specialises in this. Just to say if you do end up having surgery, don't worry. In the right hands you will be fine, it's really not painful - my main problem is tinnitus which I hope the Dr will tell me is normal and hopefully will go away!