Your ear is a complicated piece of equipment as far as your body goes. It’s connected to both the nose and throat through various means and is made up of different types of materials like cartilage, bone, skin, and tissues.
As such, the ear is susceptible to various types of injuries, diseases, and infections like myringitis. Myringitis or bullous myringitis is the inflammation of the tympanic membrane that can cause blisters on the eardrum. It’s a painful condition, and if left untreated, it can do damage to your hearing.
In this article, we’ll take a look at bullous myringitis causes, symptoms, and treatment, as well as how you may be able to prevent this type of infection happening to you in the first place. Hopefully, by the time you are done reading this article, you will have a good understanding of the myringitis definition, and how you can treat it.
The main causes of infectious myringitis are due to bacterial infections. There are two main culprits: Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is one of the major causes of pneumonia. It usually attacks the respiratory system but can take residence up in the ear.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is a similar bacteria that can also cause pneumonia, specifically “walking pneumonia.” The bacteria that causes this condition is contagious and can be easily transmitted from person to person via things like swimming pools.
What Are the Symptoms of Myringitis?
If you had to sum up the symptoms of myringitis in a word, it would be painful. When looking at an ear infected with this condition, the ear canal will most likely appear red. It will be tender and sore to the touch.
Further in, you will see blisters. The blisters will be sore and will more than likely cause some temporary hearing loss as they are right by the ear drum area. If the blisters burst, expect a pus discharge to come from your ear, as well as the possibility of a little blood.
There could even be radiating pain from the area for a few days after treatment for the infection has taken place. The one good thing about having these symptoms is that once they are recognized, treatment can begin.
Bullous Myringitis Treatment
Once the doctor diagnoses an infection, bullous myringitis treatment is fairly easy. For the most part, doctors will prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection. These antibiotics may come in the form of ear drops or antibiotic pills, or a combination of both.
If the pressure and pain from the blisters are too much, pain medications may also be prescribed. The doctor may cut the blisters to allow them to drain, which reduces the pressure in your ear.
During the treatment period, the sufferer should avoid contact with people as much as possible, as the infection can still be contagious until treatment is complete. Given how much discomfort this condition can create within your ear, the best step in treatment is preventing the infection from grabbing hold in the first place.
How to Prevent Myringitis
There are some easy prevention methods that you can use to help protect your ears from myringitis. You should note that while it is common in infants and seniors, adults can also get the infection; it’s just less common.
1. Wash your hands
A common health practice you should be adhering to anyways, washing your hands can get rid of the bacteria that may give you myringitis.
2. Avoid submerging your ears for long periods
If you are swimming in a pool or relaxing in a hot tub, especially those of a public variety, make sure you don’t keep your ears in the water for long periods. Bacteria can live in the water, and so it makes for an easy path to the inner ear.
3. Finish drug treatments for infections
If you are on a treatment plan for an infection like Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, be sure to finish all the medication as the infection may not be fully cured and may migrate even if you already feel better.
Children can be vaccinated against the pneumoniae bacteria that can cause myringitis.
Easily Treatable, Myringitis Is Nothing to Worry About
Our senses are very important to us, especially sight and hearing. If your hearing is reduced suddenly by myringitis, it can be a little bit scary. But, it’s nothing to worry about as long as you seek treatment.
A course of antibiotic drops and maybe some pills and your ear will be right as rain in no time. Just make sure you seek help for the infection as soon as you realize that it’s there.
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“Infectious Myringitis,” MedlinePlus, May 25, 2016; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001369.htm, last accessed July 11, 2017.