The aim of a myringoplasty is to close the hole in your eardrum with a small skin graft. We usually take the skin for the graft through an incision just above your ear.
Sealing the hole in your eardrum will help to prevent repeated ear infections. It may also improve your hearing. The amount that your hearing improves will depend on the size and position of the hole in your eardrum. Your surgeon should discuss this with you in detail and explain how much you can expect your hearing to improve.
Are there any alternatives?
You cannot take tablets or medicines to close a hole in your eardrum. Sometimes, small holes close by themselves if left.
What if you do nothing?
A small hole may close by itself but a larger one will not. As long you have a hole in your eardrum you have an increased risk of getting ear infections. This may cause a runny ear. You can try to prevent infection by keeping your ear dry. You will need earplugs for washing your hair, bathing, showering or swimming.
If the hole in your eardrum stops it from vibrating properly then you hearing will be impaired while the hole remains.
Who should have it done?
If you have a hole in your eardrum that is causing significant deafness, maybe with frequent ear infections, you should consider an operation to close the hole.
Who should not have it done?
If you have another medical condition that makes a general anaesthetic unsafe you should not have one. It may be possible to have the operation under local anaesthetic. Discuss this option with your surgeon and anaesthetist.
If the hole is not causing much deafness and you are happy to avoid ear infections by keeping your ear dry then you should not have the operation.
Author: Mr Robert Ruckley MB. ChB. F.R.C.S. Consultant ENT surgeon.
© Dumas Ltd 2006