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Traumatic tympanic membrane perforations: characteristics and factors affecting outcome

Olusola A Sogebi
Emmanuel A Oyewole
Taofeeq O Mabifah


Objective: To characterize traumatic tympanic membrane perforation (TTMP) in terms of distribution, mechanisms, and outcome of treatment. To assess the factors influencing such outcome.

Study design: Prospective analytical study, assessing outcomes post-injuries.

Setting: Clinical department of a tertiary referral hospital.

Participants: Patients with TTMP based on history of trauma to the ear, and otoscopic examination confirming tympanic membrane (TM) perforation.

Intervention(s): Conservative, inactive treatment.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Distribution and healing of perforations

Results: There were 53 patients, Male: Female ratio =1.5:1, age 8-71years (Mean ±SD= 33.8 ±12.9). Median duration of injury before presentation was 3 days. 11 patients had both ears traumatized. 46.9% of perforations were in the antero-inferior part of the TM. Median size of perforations was 33.0%; Patients main complaints were blockage of the ears/ hearing loss and tinnitus. Common causes of perforations were domestic assault (28.3%), self-inflicted/ accidental injuries (20.8%), and road traffic accidents (18.9%). There was a significant difference in the mechanism/cause of injuries between the sexes (X2 =15.607, p=0.005). Traumatic perforation was caused by penetrating injuries in 22(34.4%) ears. The outcome of TTMP was poor in 18.7%. Big sized perforations (t=2.630; p=0.011), enetrating injuries (X2 =9.263; p=0.005), and postero-superior location (X2=6.326;p=0.009) had negative impacts on the healing.

Conclusions: TTMP was common in young adult males, caused often by assaults, presented with ear hearing loss and tinnitus , perforations were located in antero-inferior part of TM and most healed well. Factors associated with poor healing were postero-superior location, large size and penetrating injuries to the TM.

Funding: Not indicated

Keywords: trauma; perforation; tympanic membrane; healing; outcome

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560