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The membrane that separates your outer ear from your inner ear is called the tympanic membrane or ear drum. A hole or tear in your ear drum may be uncomfortable but they usually heal on their own.

Your ear drum converts vibrations into sound. It also helps protect your inner ear. 

Very severe perforations may require surgical repair called a myringoplasty.

What happens during ear drum repair?

Ear drum repair is usually done under general anaesthetic. Your length of stay will depend on how severe your ear drum is perforated.

Your surgeon will use a piece of your own tissue from above your ear (a skin graft) to patch the perforation. They will use very fine instruments and a tiny microscope to position the graft. Sometimes they will access your ear drum through an incision (cut) made just behind your ear.

A dressing will be placed in your ear canal held in position with a piece of cotton wool. Any wounds will be closed using stitches.

Going home after ear drum repair

Please arrange for someone to drive you home on your day of discharge. You should plan on taking about 2 weeks off work or school.

Take over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol if needed. You may experience some dizziness for a week or two.

Your consultant may give you some restrictions for the first 2 weeks of your recovery including:

  • Avoid any activity that may result in getting water in your ear
  • No heavy lifting 
  • No strenuous sports or exercise 
  • Avoid people with a cough or cold 
  • Do not fly until released to do so by your surgeon 

Most people make a good recovery from ear drum repair. As with any surgical procedure there could be complications.

General complication of surgery may include:

  • Pain Bleeding
  • Infection 
  • Reaction to anaesthetic

Specific complications of ear drum repair may include:

  • Hearing loss 
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
  • Dizziness 
  • Facial paralysis (rare)
Highgate Hospital

17-19 View Road, Highgate, London, N6 4DJ

020 8341 4182
Main switchboard 020 8341 4182
Self-pay enquiries and prices 020 8023 7277
Outpatient appointments 020 3918 9522
Physiotherapy 020 8341 4182
Diagnostic Centre 020 8347 3866
Radiology 0208 347 3866
Private GP Service 020 8341 4182
Finance 020 3925 1815

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