Infectious myringitis

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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 to 48 hours. Other symptoms include:

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

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will do an exam of your ear to look for blisters on the ear drum.

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 medicines may be prescribed, as well.

References

Haddad J, Dodhia SN. External otitis (otitis externa). In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 657.

Holzman RS, Simberkoff MS, Leaf HL. Mycoplasma pneumonia and atypical pneumonia. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and  Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 183.

Quanquin NM, Cherry JD. Mycoplasma and ureaplasma infections. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 196.

Review Date: 
4/13/2020
Reviewed By: 
Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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