Common ENT Problems

Eardrum Perforation

It is not uncommon for children to develop a perforation or a hole in their eardrum for one reason or another. Often times, it is due to infection and sometimes it is due to the placement of PE tubes. At the Pediatric Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic, a full evaluation by a board-certified ear, nose, and throat surgeon is essential. The perforation should be examined, described, measured, and hearing levels should be obtained by a board certified audiologist. If the perforation is secondary to infection and it is under 60 days old, 98% of the time the perforation will close on its own without any surgical intervention. If the perforation is secondary to a previously placed PE tube (pressure equalization tube) and the perforation has been present for longer than six months, it is highly unlikely that the perforation will close on its own. If this is the case, the child usually will require a short surgical procedure to close the eardrum under anesthesia. This can be done in an outpatient surgical facility and should be done by a board-certified ear, nose, and throat surgeon with experience. If surgery is performed, parents may accompany children into the operating room for the surgical procedure during anesthesia intubation. Typically a procedure like this takes less than 10 minutes and the child recovers for 30 minutes before being discharged home. Postoperatively, the drum usually heals within 90 days and is usually followed with a postoperative hearing test to make sure the child's hearing has come back to normal. We have been diagnosing and treating eardrum perforations for 25 years. If you suspect your child has a perforation or hearing loss, please contact the Pediatric Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic at 1-800-526-0998.