Myringotomy - A guide to Hearing Loss

This is not to be confused with a myringoplasty which uses a skin graft to repair a perforated ear drum.

The difference with this procedure is that the ear drum is punctured to enable fluid to be drawn off and so relieve any build up of pressure. A grommet may be inserted into the ear drum to prevent any further infections as well as allowing the normal flow of air through the ear canal.

The procedure

This is carried out as a day surgery under a general anaesthetic.

The surgeon will make a tiny incision in your ear drum before inserting a thin ‘sucker’tube into this incision. This tube is pushed through the ear drum into the middle ear and acts as a drainage system in that it draws off the infected fluid behind the ear drum.

If this fluid is thick or glutinous – as a result of ‘glue ear’ – then he/she will insert a small tube called a grommet into the ear drum. This enables air to now flow from the ear drum into the middle ear which will also dry up any remaining fluid.

This drainage will continue after the surgery until all the fluid has dried up. Once this has done so then the ear drum will heal which then pushes the grommet out. This usually falls out of the ear by itself although in some cases it becomes stuck to ear wax and remains in the ear. If this happens then it will be removed at your outpatient appointment.

Both ears can be done at the same time.


You will be given painkillers to deal with any discomfort following your surgery. Provided everything is alright then you will be discharged on the same day but if you haven’t fully recovered from the anaesthesia then you will be kept in overnight.

Until the grommet falls out then avoid getting water into your ear. Wear a cap when taking a shower or washing your hair. Wear ear plugs when swimming.


All surgical procedures have the potential for complications although these tend to be quite rare.

Popping or clicking noises in your ear are normal and nothing to be worried about. Likewise if you notice a clear but lightly blood-stained discharge from your ear a couple of days following surgery then this too, is normal. But if this continues for more than a couple of days or turns into a thick, unpleasant smelling discharge then you have probably contracted an ear infection. If that is the case then see your GP.

Treatments : A guide to Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

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