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Infectious myringitis

Definition

Infectious myringitis is an infection that causes painful blisters on the eardrum (tympanum).

Alternative Names

Bullous myringitis

Causes

Infectious myringitis is caused by the same viruses or bacteria that cause middle ear infections. The most common of these is mycoplasma. It is often found along with the common cold or other similar infections.

The condition is most often seen in children, but it may also occur in adults.

Symptoms

The main symptom is pain that lasts for 24 - 48 hours. Other symptoms include:

  • Draining from the ear
  • Hearing loss in the painful ear

Rarely, the hearing loss will continue after the infection has cleared.

Treatment

Infectious myringitis is usually treated with antibiotics. These may be given by mouth or as drops in the ear. If the pain is severe, small cuts may be made in the blisters so they can drain. Pain-killing drugs may be prescribed, as well.

References

Guss J, Ruckenstein MJ. Infections of the external ear. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 137.

Haddad J Jr. External otitis (otitis externa). In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 631.


Review Date: 5/18/2014
Reviewed By: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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