What is myringitis?

Myringitis: an inflammation of the eardrum

Myringitis is an inflammation of the eardrum characterized by the appearance of blisters and unexpected and persistent earaches. It can sometimes involve hearing loss and fever.


The main symptom of myringitis is ear pain. However, this condition can also be diagnosed by the presence of otoscopic vesicles on the tympanic membrane. Once the cause of the inflammation is identified, it can be resolved within a few days.

The main symptoms of myringitis

The main symptoms of myringitis include:

  • Hypoacusis, which is hearing loss or muffled hearing
  • Otalgia, or intense pain in the ear
  • Bleeding from the ear
  • Fever (mild in viral forms, higher in bacterial forms) 
  • Itching or tinnitus

Types of myringitis

There are different types of Myringitis and they can be differentiated based on their origin, intensity, duration and the way in which they manifest. 

Acute myringitis

Acute myringitis or mycomyringitis is a sudden onset condition, often associated with otitis media or otitis externa, It can lasts from 24 to 48 hours and causes severe pain.

Chronic myringitis

Chronic myringitis only occurs after frequent ear canal infections. If not treated properly, this condition can carry on for several months.

Bullous myringitis

Bullous myringitis is an acute inflammation that can be contagious. It often manifests itself as a symptom of influenza through the appearance of blisters or vesicles on the eardrum.

Granular myringitis

Granular myringitis characterized by the discharge of secretions from the ear (otorrhea). This condition is often painless and can last more than a month. It is usually a consequence of a disease of the outer ear that extends to the tympanic membrane, on which granular tissue forms.

Viral myringitis

A pathogen is reffered to as viral myringitis if it is a virus (usually the flu virus), where the inflammation is sudden, isolated and accompanied by severe pain.

Bacterial myringitis

Myringitis can also develop due to the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the tympanic membrane.

The main causes of myringitis

Myringitis is caused by inflammation of the surrounding tissues resulting from conditions, including but not limited to, otitis media, trauma improper ear cleaning, mycetes, penetration of foreign bodies, to name a few. It can also occur as a result of an upper airway infection.

How to diagnose myringitis?

Myringitis can be diagnosed through an otolaryngological examination, which includes an analysis of the patient's symptoms and an inspection of the ear through an otoscope, to detect the presence of vesicles or other lesions of the eardrum. The doctor will also check for otitis media, which, unlike meringitis, affects the area behind the eardrum.

How to treat myringitis?

The treatment of myringitis depends on its type and generally involves taking antibiotics and painkillers.

Myringitis in children

Like all hearing pathologies, myringitis is common in children whose are still in development and whose ear formation is not yet definitive. As it is contagious, contact between affected children should be avoided.


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