A large hole in eardrum may reduce ability to hear

SHARJAH - A hole in the eardrum, also known as a perforation, can be caused by infection or trauma to the eardrum.

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Published: Sat 26 Mar 2011, 10:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:39 PM

Staff Reporter

“Quite often a hole in the eardrum may heal itself. Sometimes, it does not cause any problems. However, it may cause a discharge from the ear. If the hole in the eardrum is large, then hearing may be reduced,” said Dr Hussein Hassan Al Kadiri Specialist ENT Surgeon, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.

The ear consists of the outer, middle and inner ear. Sound travels through the outer ear and reaches the eardrum, causing it to vibrate. The vibration is then transmitted through the three tiny bones (ossicle) in the middle ear. The vibration then enters the inner ear which contains the nerve cells. The nerve cells within the inner ear are stimulated to produce nerve signals. These nerve signals are carried to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.

“If the hole in the eardrum has only just occurred, no treatment may be required. The eardrum may simply heal itself. If there is an infection, an antibiotic may be needed,” said the doctor.

“A hole in the eardrum that is not causing any problems can be left alone. If the holes in the eardrum causing discharge, deafenss, or if the patient wishes to swim, it may be sensible to have the hole repaired,” he added.

Dr Al Kadiri explained that for a small hole, there is a 90 per cent chance of a successful operation. “The success rate is not quite good if the hole is large. The operation can be done by making a cut behind the ear or above the ear opening. The material used to patch the eardrum is taken from under the skin,” he said.

There are some risks that the patient must be aware of before giving consent to this treatment. These potential complications are rare.

The taste nerve that runs close to the eardrum may occasionally be damaged and this can cause an abnormal taste on one side of the tongue. “This is usually temporary but occasionally it can be permanent. Dizziness is common for few hours after surgery. On rare occasion, dizziness is prolonged. Sometimes the patient may notice noise in the ear, in particular if the hearing loss worsens,” he explained.

The patient should keep the ear dry and avoid blowing the nose too vigorously after the surgery.


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