Inflammation of the eardrum: causes, symptoms and treatment

With the help of a tympanic membrane, the ear is divided into the middle and outer sections. It is a membrane impervious to air and liquid, the diameter of which is approximately 1 cm and the thickness is about 0.1 mm. Its main function is the transmission of sound waves to the inner ear, and the auxiliary function is to protect the auditory system from the penetration of foreign bodies. In childhood, the membrane has the shape of a regular circle, in adulthood - an ellipse. Inflammation of the eardrum is a fairly serious pathology, which in the absence of adequate and timely therapy can lead to complete hearing loss.

eardrum inflammation

Pathology Description

Many are interested in what is called inflammation of the eardrum. This is myringitis. It is a process of inflammation that affects membrane tissue and is usually accompanied by infections provoked by pathogens that enter the inflammatory focus from the bloodstream or adjacent tissues.

The mechanism of inflammation of the eardrum of the ear is always standard. At the initial stages of the lesion, the body synthesizes cytokines - specific protein compounds that trigger the immune response to damaging factors. Under the influence of cytokines, the blood vessels located in the eardrum expand. Through their walls, blood plasma with individual shaped cells enters the surrounding tissue. As a result, there is hyperemia and swelling of the membrane.

The development of the inflammatory process is accompanied by the occurrence of soreness in the ears, discomfort, the appearance of noise, in some cases - hearing loss, fever. When the disease goes into a hemorrhagic or chronic stage, vesicles are formed, filled with pus and blood, bursting with exudate being released to the outside.

Why does eardrum inflammation occur?

Development reasons

Morphologically, the membrane is part of the tympanic cavity and the external auditory canal. On the one hand, the surface of the tympanic membrane is covered with the epidermis, on the other hand it is a continuation of the mucosa lining the tympanic cavity. Due to this structure, myringitis as an independent pathology is quite rare. As a rule, the membrane becomes inflamed due to the fact that pathological processes from adjacent organs extend to it. Such pathological processes can be:

eardrum inflammation treatment
  1. Bacterial, viral infections (tonsillitis, flu).
  2. Colds.
  3. Inflammation of the middle or outer ear.

As an independent disease, myringitis usually develops with sound, thermal, chemical, and mechanical trauma to the membrane. Myringitis as a result of trauma often occurs in children, as babies stuff various small objects into their ears.

Among the factors that provoke the disease are vitamin deficiency, malnutrition and poor nutrition, and reduced immunity.


Specialists distinguish three main varieties of inflammation of the eardrum:

  1. Acute catarrhal. It often develops as a result of injury. It is characterized by symptoms that rapidly increase, but slightly pronounced manifestations are also likely. Timely therapy can completely eliminate the disease.
  2. Chronic. It is the most common form of pathology. As a rule, it proceeds together with other ENT diseases. The most characteristic feature is the formation of bullae (vesicles) on the membrane, which are filled with pus. The chronic form of myringin is prone to relapse even after proper therapy.
  3. Bullous (hemorrhagic). It is a complication of other diseases, in some cases a consequence of the flu. The main distinguishing feature of hemorrhagic myringitis is the appearance of bullae filled with blood exudate.

What are the main symptoms of eardrum inflammation? About it further.

eardrum inflammation symptoms and treatment


Symptoms of myringitis depend on the nature of the course and form of pathology. In the initial stages of the development of the ailment, the symptoms are slightly expressed. With the development of the disease - the transition to hemorrhagic, chronic, acute forms - they manifest themselves quite clearly.

In acute myringitis, the patient has the following symptoms:

  1. Pain in the head from the affected ear.
  2. General malaise.
  3. Bloody, serous discharge (found in about 60% of cases).
  4. An increase in temperature (usually with influenza myringitis). This symptom occurs in half of the patients.
  5. Hearing loss, tinnitus.
  6. Aching pain, discomfort (itching in the ear, heaviness, sensation of the presence of a foreign object, and cleaning the auditory passages does not bring relief).
  7. Stuffy ear.
  8. Unexpected pain when sneezing, coughing.

Some unpleasant symptoms of inflammation of the eardrum in the photo can be seen with the naked eye.

eardrum inflammation is called

Acute form

Exacerbated chronic and hemorrhagic myringitis are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  1. Pain, severe itching.
  2. Mild hearing loss.
  3. Isolation of blood, pus from the ear, accompanied by the appearance of a fetid odor.

How is eardrum inflammation detected in a child or adult?


The leading role in the diagnosis of myringin belongs to the examination and questioning of the patient. A full examination involves the use of the following diagnostic methods:

  1. Medical history, patient survey. The specialist focuses on the dynamics of the pathology, sequence, development of the disease, the absence or presence of similar symptoms in previous periods.
  2. Otoscopy Using an otoscope, a specialist examines in detail the state of the membrane, all pathological changes that have occurred with it. With catarrhal myringitis, redness, swelling of the tympanic membrane is observed. In some cases, a small amount of serous exudate is released. In the chronic form of the disease, protrusion and thickening of the membrane, the formation of granules with purulent contents are noted. The appearance of bullae filled with serous hemorrhagic exudate indicates hemorrhagic myringitis. If the pathology has a herpetic origin, the vesicles are small in size. Bulls formed during the flu are quite large in size.
  3. Laboratory research. They can detect an increase in ESR and leukocytosis. With a viral etiology of myringitis, 2-4 days after the onset of pathology, a decrease in the level of leukocytes occurs, lymphocytosis develops. To determine the type of pathogen, a virological or bacteriological study is necessary with culture on a culture medium of a smear taken from the external auditory canal.
  4. Threshold tone audiometry. The purpose of this study is to determine the degree of hearing loss and the choice of treatment tactics. The essence of the study is the generation of sound signals of various intensities with the help of a special device (audiometer) and the determination of sound conduction in the middle and inner ear.
  5. Differential diagnosis. It is carried out to separate myringitis from otitis media, otomycosis, and some other otolaryngological pathologies. To differentiate myringitis from otitis media, a blowing method is used. It consists in the fact that a specialist passes air into the tympanic cavity and the auditory tube through the nasopharynx, after which he listens to the process through an acoustic device having two tubes. With otitis media, the Eustachian tube is often blocked. With myringitis, it remains passable.
    eardrum inflammation symptoms

Treatment of eardrum inflammation

Therapy of myringitis consists of symptomatic, pathogenetic, etiotropic treatment. In some cases, there is a need for surgical intervention. Therapeutic methods are the same for adult patients and children. The only difference is that in the treatment of children, more gentle antibiotic agents are used (if they are required).

In order to eliminate the inflammatory reaction and the evacuation of purulent-bloody exudate from the auricle, antiseptic solutions are used: “Chlorhexidine”, “Miramistin”, “Furacilin”, boric acid, and other similar medicines. If a significant amount of exudate is secreted, sterile swabs of gauze should be laid in the ears and periodically replaced.

What else is used in the treatment of eardrum inflammation? Antibacterial and antiviral agents are recommended for use depending on the type of pathogen established by the results of a virological, bacteriological study. As a rule, amantadine derivatives are prescribed for the patient (with a viral infection), fluoroquinolones, second and third generation cephalosporin preparations, macrolides.

eardrum inflammation in a child

In order to inhibit the inflammatory process, non-steroidal type anti-inflammatory drugs are used (Dexamethasone, Diclofenac, and others), as well as glucocorticosteroids.

In cases where myringitis is accompanied by intoxication, detoxification therapy is carried out using infusions of saline, 5% glucose, low molecular weight plasma substitutes.

In order to eliminate hyperemia and puffiness, antihistamines are indicated. To eliminate scars and adhesions, biostimulants and physiotherapeutic methods can be used. To strengthen the general condition for inflammation of the eardrum, otolaryngologists recommend that patients use vitamin complexes and immunostimulating drugs.


With surgical intervention, the bulls are punctured using a special thin needle. Do this in order to remove the contents of purulent and hemorrhagic vesicles. After piercing the bullus, the exudate is removed and the area is treated with antiseptic agents.

eardrum inflammation photo

Inflammation of the eardrum: treatment with folk remedies

The feasibility of using folk remedies for the treatment of myringitis should be discussed with an ENT doctor.

Traditional healers are often advised to use ordinary onions to eliminate myringitis. Peel one onion, cut off the upper part from it and make a small depression. It is filled with caraway seeds and covered with a cut top. After that, the onion is baked in the oven until it becomes soft. After that, juice is squeezed out of the baked onion and used to bury the ears. It is recommended to carry out the procedure twice a day.

Probable complications

Inadequate therapy or its absence can lead to the development of severe consequences in the form of sepsis or complete deafness. The main complications are:

  1. Mastoiditis.
  2. Labyrinthitis.
  3. Paralysis of the facial nerve.
  4. Penetration of pus into the lining of the brain.
  5. Perforation, complete destruction of the membrane.

Forecast, preventive measures

Preventive measures include:

  1. Maintaining immunity is normal: vitamin therapy, hardening, healthy lifestyle.
  2. Compliance with personal hygiene recommendations.
  3. Avoidance of colds, hypothermia.
  4. Timely and complete therapy of chronic pathologies that can provoke the development of myringitis.
  5. Careful attitude to the ears, avoiding any injury.

The prognosis for myringitis depends on the etiology of the disease and the adequacy of the therapy used. Acute catarrhal and hemorrhagic myringitis, as a rule, is completely cured. The chronic form is characterized by a change in exacerbations and remissions.

We examined the symptoms and treatment of eardrum inflammation.


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