A common cause for hearing loss is a tympanic membrane perforation or hole in the ear drum. In most cases, a patient will notice persistent hearing loss after a severe ear infection; especially if there was drainage from the ear or if there was a direct injury to the ear. Sometimes, these holes can also occur after a pressure equalizing tube comes out; although this is most often experienced in children.
An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist can determine if you have a perforated eardrum by looking into your ear using an otoscope. The severity of hearing loss is dependent on the size of the hole. In addition to looking at the ear drum, a hearing test is needed to determine the degree of the hearing loss and to verify there are no other hearing problems.
Tympanoplasty or repair of the ear is recommended for most people to improve hearing and prevent infection in the ear.
Dr. Thomas Eby, an otologist at UMMC Ear, Nose and Throat, performs this common surgery.
“The surgery to repair the ear drum is a short, outpatient procedure under general anesthesia and can usually be done through the ear canal using a microscope or endoscope," Dr. Eby explains. “A small incision behind the ear or just in front of the ear canal is used to obtain tissue for the graft. There is little pain from the procedure and packing is removed in the office in a week or two, with full healing in a month.”
Tympanoplasty has excellent results with complete closure of the perforation and hearing improvement seen in a high percentage of patients.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call UMMC Ear, Nose and Throat at 601.984.5160.