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Infectious myringitis

Infectious myringitis is an infection that causes painful blisters on the eardrum (tympanum).


Infectious myringitis is caused by the same viruses or bacteria that cause middle ear infections. The most common of these is mycoplasma. It is often found along with the common cold or other similar infections.

The condition is most often seen in children, but it may also occur in adults.


The main symptom is pain that lasts for 24 to 48 hours. Other symptoms include:

Rarely, the hearing loss will continue after the infection has cleared.


Infectious myringitis is usually treated with antibiotics. These may be given by mouth or as drops in the ear. If the pain is severe, small cuts may be made in the blisters so they can drain. Pain-killing drugs may be prescribed, as well.

Alternative Names

Bullous myringitis


Brant JA, Ruckenstein MJ. Infections of the external ear. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 137.

Haddad J, Keesecker S. External otitis (otitis externa). In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 639.

Review Date 5/25/2016

Updated by: Sumana Jothi, MD, specialist in laryngology, Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF Otolaryngology, NCHCS VA, SFVA, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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