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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 258-261

Comparative evaluation of hearing in different tympanic membrane perforations

Department of ENT, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication13-Oct-2016

Correspondence Address:
Abhinav Srivastava
Department of ENT, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Pilibhit Bypass Road, Bareilly - 243 006, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-7749.192172

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Objective: To correlate the size and site of perforation with hearing loss in chronic suppurative otitis media. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional prospective study was carried out in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Western Uttar Pradesh. One hundred consecutive patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria were included in the study. In all the patients, a detailed history and a thorough ENT examination was followed by hearing assessment and measurement of the size of the perforation. Results: Infection was the most common etiology of tympanic membrane perforation in 92 (92%) cases and trauma in 08 (08%) with otorrhea as the most common presenting complaint. Half of the cases were in the age group of 20-30 years. Seventy-nine percentage cases had mild hearing loss whereas 19% had moderate hearing loss. Anterior quadrant perforations on an average had 31.4 dB hearing loss, whereas there was 43.9 dB average hearing loss in posterior quadrant perforations. Conclusions: It was observed that there is direct relationship between size and site of perforation and loss of hearing. There was less hearing loss in small sized perforations. Posterior quadrant perforations and malleolar perforations (MLs) had a greater hearing loss than anterior, multiple quadrant, or non-MLs.

Keywords: Chronic suppurative otitis media, Hearing loss, Perforation, Tympanic membrane

How to cite this article:
Singh R, Srivastava A, Mohan C. Comparative evaluation of hearing in different tympanic membrane perforations. Indian J Otol 2016;22:258-61

How to cite this URL:
Singh R, Srivastava A, Mohan C. Comparative evaluation of hearing in different tympanic membrane perforations. Indian J Otol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Feb 5];22:258-61. Available from: https://www.indianjotol.org/text.asp?2016/22/4/258/192172

  Introduction Top

Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) is an inflammation of a part or whole of the mucoperiosteal lining of the middle ear cleft. It is a highly prevalent disease of the middle ear. Although the incidence and prevalence of CSOM has decreased in recent decades, [1] due to improving hygiene and treatment, it is still a major health problem in both developing and developed countries. [2]

The tympanic membrane (TM) emulates an irregular cone and is about 9 mm in diameter. It is firmly attached to the malleus at the lateral process and at the umbo. The middle ear couples sound signals from the ear canal to the cochlea primarily through the action of the TM and the ossicular chain. The major transformer mechanism within the middle ear is the ratio of the TM area to the stapes footplate area (the areal ration). The TM gathers force over its entire surface and then couples the gathered force to the small footplate of the stapes. Human TM has an area that is 20 times larger than the footplate, thus, if the transformer action of the areal ratio is "ideal," the sound pressure applied to the inner ear by the stapes footplate should be 20 times or 26 dB larger than the sound pressure at the TM.

The primary mechanism of conductive loss caused by a perforation is a reduction in ossicular coupling caused by a loss in the sound pressure difference across the TM. Perforation-induced losses are greatest at the lowest frequencies and generally decrease as frequency increases. Perforation size is an important determinant of the loss; larger perforations result in larger hearing losses. [3]

This study has been undertaken to evaluate the relationship between the location and size of perforation of TM and the magnitude of conductive hearing loss.

  Materials and Methods Top

This prospective, observational study was conducted among a purposive sample of first 100 consecutive patients of unilateral inactive mucosal CSOM, who underwent myringoplasty in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, in a Tertiary Care Hospital in West Uttar Pradesh. Patients of both sexes, of age 20-50 years [Table 1], who had dry central perforation with conductive hearing loss, healthy middle ear mucosa, and normal  Eustachian tube More Details function were included in this study. Patients below 20 years of age, and with active disease, tympanosclerosis, revision surgery, mixed or sensory neural hearing loss, CSOM atticoantral type, ossicular chain fixation, or disruption were excluded from the study. A thorough history was taken in each case, followed by detailed examination and relevant investigations. Audiometric assessment was performed using a clinical audiometer - Primus Auditdata calibrated according to ISO standard in a sound treated room. A preoperative pure tone audiometry was done to find out hearing level of the patient. "Hearing level" was defined as the mean air conduction threshold at 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz, and average of these frequencies was calculated to measure the hearing level.
Table 1: Age and sex distribution of the cases

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Sterile piece of transparent plastic paper (with graph imprinted on it) was kept over the perforated TM, under operating microscope with magnifications ×2.5. Number of squares occupying the perforation was counted. Half or more of any square overlying the perforation, was taken to be one whole square and smaller than half a square mm was not counted. The area of perforation was calculated by counting the number of squares on the graph paper covering the perforation and a record was made. The perforation was divided into small, medium, and large depending upon the size of perforation [Table 2].
Table 2: Grading of perforation size

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The average surface area of an intact TM was taken as 64.3sq.mm.

The site of each perforation was determined anterior or posterior with respect to an imaginary line drawn across the TM at the level of manubrium.

Perforations were divided into malleolar or nonmalleolar depending upon whether the malleus was involved or not.

  Results Top

The study comprised 100 cases of unilateral inactive mucosal CSOM. The most common symptoms were ear discharge and hearing loss in all the patients. The duration of the disease was from 1 to 5 years.


Infection was the most common etiology of TM perforation in 92 cases (92%) and in eight patients (8%), trauma was the cause of TM perforation.

Presenting complaints

Otorrhea was the most common presenting complaint in 85 cases (85%) followed by hearing loss in 82 cases (82%) and itching in ear in 10 cases (10%). There were 8 cases (8%) of traumatic perforations.

Age and sex

Age range of the patients was between 20 and 50 years. The maximum number of patients, i.e., 50 (50%) was in the age group of 20-30 years and the least number i.e., 5 (5%) in the range of 41-50 years. The number of patients also decreased with the increase in age. The number of males was more than the number of females. There were 58 (58%) males and 42 (42%) females in the study.

Otological examination

All the cases included in the study had unilateral inactive mucosal disease with central perforation.

Measurement of hearing loss

Average hearing loss

It was observed that average hearing loss ranged from 16 to 65 dB (conductive). Maximum number of cases were found to have mild hearing loss (79%) followed by moderate hearing loss (19%).

The hearing loss in the study ranged between 26 and 70 dB. In maximum number of cases, there was mild hearing loss (79%) [Table 3].
Table 3: Average hearing loss in 100 dry tympanic membrane perforations (n=100)

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It was observed that loss of hearing was directly proportional to the size of the perforation. The larger the perforation, more the hearing loss [Table 4].

It was observed that hearing loss was slightly greater in posterior perforations, than the anterior perforations and perforations involving multiple quadrants [Table 5].
Table 4: Hearing loss according to size of perforation (n=100)

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Table 5: Hearing loss according to site of perforation (n=100)

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The hearing loss of the entire study group was divided into two parts - malleolar and non-malleolar perforation (ML). TM perforations touching the handle of malleus were termed as ML and those not touching the handle of malleus were termed as non-MLs. The hearing loss was found to be more in ML [Table 6].
Table 6: Hearing loss in malleolar and nonmalleolar perforations (n=100)

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  Discussion Top

According to our study, maximum number of cases had mild hearing loss, and many patients were even not aware of the hearing loss.

According to studies conducted by Anthony et al., [4] Maharjan et al., [5] Bhusal et al., [6] Nepal et al., [7] Ibekwe et al., [8] and Mehta et al., [9] hearing loss was greater in larger perforations as compared to small perforations, which is in agreement with our study where hearing loss ranged from 43.7 to 59.8 dB in perforation over 17 mm in size. It was further observed that more the involvement of the vibratory area, more was the hearing loss.

In this study, hearing loss was found to be more in posterior perforations, which was also observed by Maharjan et al., [5] Nahata et al., [10] Nepal et al., [7] Bhusal et al. [6] Contrary to this, Mehta et al., [9] Lerut et al., [11] Pannu et al., [12] and Ibekwe et al. [8] did not find significant difference in the hearing loss in anterior versus posterior quadrant perforations.

We found that the hearing loss resulting from ML was more than that of non-MLs. Same observations were made by Kharadi et al., [13] and Pannu. [12]

  Conclusions Top

  • Out of the 100 patients studied, 58 were males and 42 were females, suggesting slight male preponderance
  • Average hearing loss ranged from 16 to 65 dB. Seventy-nine percentage cases had mild hearing loss, whereas 19 (19%) and 02 (02%) cases had moderate and severe hearing loss, respectively
  • The average hearing loss in small (1-16 mm 2 ) perforations was 31.4 dB, while that of medium (17-32 mm 2 ) perforations was 43.7 dB, and large (>32 mm 2 ) perforations was 59.8 dB, suggesting that the hearing loss is directly proportional to the size of the perforation
  • The average hearing loss for anterior perforation was 31.4% and for posterior and multiple quadrants perforations, it was 43.9% and 41.7%, respectively. There is a small difference in average hearing loss in different sites of perforations. So effect of site, if any, on the hearing loss was small
  • The average hearing loss in ML for small perforations was 27.5 dB for moderate perforations was 30.7 dB and for large perforations was 48.5 dB, while in non-MLs it was 26.7 dB and 29.3 dB for small and medium perforations, respectively.

It is thus concluded that the hearing loss is more in larger MLs and posterior perforations as compared to nonmalleolar anterior perforations.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Lin YS, Lin LC, Lee FP, Lee KJ. The prevalence of chronic otitis media and its complication rates in teenagers and adult patients. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2009;140:165-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bluestone CD. Studies in otitis media: Children′s Hospital of Pittsburgh-University of Pittsburgh progress report-2004. Laryngoscope 2004;114(11 Pt 3):1-26.  Back to cited text no. 2
Merchant SN, Rosowski JJ. Acoustics and Mechanics of the middle ear. Glasscock-Shambaugh: Surgery of the ear. 6 th ed. USA: People′s Medical Publishing House; 2010. p. 49-72  Back to cited text no. 3
Anthony WP, Harrison CW. Tympanic membrane perforation. Effect on audiogram. Arch Otolaryngol 1972;95:506-10.  Back to cited text no. 4
Maharjan M, Kafle P, Bista M, Shrestha S, Toran KC. Observation of hearing loss in patients with chronic suppurative otitis media tubotympanic type. Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ) 2009;7:397-401.  Back to cited text no. 5
Bhusal CL, Guragain RP, Shrivastav RP. Size of typmanic membrane perforation and hearing loss. JNMA J Nepal Med Assoc 2006;45:167-72.  Back to cited text no. 6
Nepal A, Bhandary S, Mishra SC, Singh I, Kumar P. The morphology of central tympanic membrane perforations. Nepal Med Coll J 2008;9:239-44.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ibekwe TS, Nwaorgu OG, Ijaduola TG. Correlating the site of tympanic membrane perforation with Hearing loss. BMC Ear Nose Throat Disord 2009;9:1.  Back to cited text no. 8
Mehta RP, Rosowski JJ, Voss SE, O′Neil E, Merchant SN. Determinants of hearing loss in perforations of the tympanic membrane. Otol Neurotol 2006;27:136-43.  Back to cited text no. 9
Nahata V, Patil CY, Patil RK, Gattani G, Disawal A, Roy A. Tympanic membrane perforation: Its correlation with hearing loss and frequency affected - An analytical study. Indian J Otol 2014;20:10-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
  Medknow Journal  
Lerut B, Pfammatter A, Moons J, Linder T. Functional correlations of tympanic membrane perforation size. Otol Neurotol 2012;33:379-86.  Back to cited text no. 11
Pannu KK, Chadha S, Kumar D, Preeti. Evaluation of hearing loss in tympanic membrane perforation. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011;63:208-13.  Back to cited text no. 12
Kharadi P, Prajapati V, Mehta K, Jha S, Pandya V. A study of correlation of size and site of perforation with deafness. Southeast Asian J Case Rep Rev 2014;3:939-48.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]


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