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Alternative NamesBullous myringitis
Definition Return to top
Infectious myringitis is a contagious disease that causes painful blisters on the eardrum (tympanum). It may occur with a middle ear infection (otitis media).
Causes Return to top
Infectious myringitis is a viral or bacterial infection. It is usually a complication of a common cold virus. Rarely, it may be caused by an infection with mycoplasma pneumonia.
Symptoms Return to top
The main symptom is pain that lasts for 24 - 48 hours. Other symptoms include draining from the ear and hearing loss in the painful ear. Rarely, the hearing loss will continue after the infection has cleared.
Treatment Return to top
Infectious myringitis is usually treated with antibiotics, either given as drops in the ear or by mouth. If the pain is severe, the blisters may be lanced and pain-killing drugs may be prescribed.
References Return to top
Ruckenstein MJ. Infections of the External Ear. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. St Louis, Mo; Mosby; 2005: chap 132.
O'Handley JG, Tobin E, Tagge B. Otorhinolaryngology. In: Rakel RE. Rakel: Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 25.Update Date: 7/15/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.