question-icon

Can an opening in the ear drum lead to ear infections?

default
Posted on Sat, 7 May 2016
Question: I was travelling by flight around August last year, In flight I had severe pain in my ears. I went on to show it to Ear Nose Throat doctor. He said there is a hole in eardrums, on both side. He prescribed me some medications and the pain was relieved and the ear drums also were filled within 2-3 weeks.
I want to ask. Can this opening in the ear drums lead to some infection (viral or bacteria) inside the ear?
If yes, is there a chance that the jaw joint part (muscles) be infected too?
Thanks
doctor
Answered by Dr. Prasad (54 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Infection can occur; but it doesn't seem so in this case...

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

From what I assume, you seem to have had traumatic (barotraumatic) rupture of both ears. Well, if this was unattended it could have got infected. However once its properly healed, chance of infection is nothing more than normal individual's healthy ear.

So to answer your question theoretically; yes a ruptured ear drum are prone to infections. But in your case, since it's already healed, I wouldn't be worried about future infections. If you are currently symptomatic, please explain your symptoms.

Temperomandibular joint (TMJ) infection or surrounding soft tissue infection is not directly related to ear infection.
Again, I would like to hear detailed elaboration of your current symptoms to discuss / relate better.

Hope this is clear.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
default
Follow up: Dr. Prasad (4 hours later)
Actually I didnt give detail information. Here it is. I would also like to know some details in regards with some medications.

... the ear drums also were filled within 2-3 weeks. (last message end)
After about 2 weeks I had a severe pain just below and inside the ears. I showed to the same doctor, he said the eardrums are recovered. So he some preliminary
medication. Within 2 days it got more severe and I have high temperature these 2 days. I again showed to him. He said it can be a viral infection and changed the medication. Next day I was feeling some movement in jaw joint. 1 day after this my jaw started moving upside and a bit left, uncontrollably with huge pain. I went straight in emergency. They said it wads multiple spasm and the Orthopaedic doc. started the treatment. I was feeling good there after that day.

2 days after, when I was still admitted in hospital my speech started slowing down, neck became stiff. This got severe within 1 day. They said it to be function by me and my family not being satisfied with treatment changed the hospital. Then I went to a Neurologist, he said its not a big issue. But we being in trauma like state he said we will do some blood tests and MRI to clear all doubts. All tests were normal. And within one day my speech became normal and the neck stiffness also reduced. But I had a small panic attack in hospital itself. Situation improved a bit in 2 days and I was discharged but the medication still are going on as if they are stopped or lowered I again get the feeling of pain in jaw and front part of lower jaw. I would say they are some of the symptoms of multiple spasms.
According to the neurologist, there was infection which has made the nervous system weak, and some other things. Current I am having 2 tablets, pexep CR and Clonotril, both I guess are for anti-anxiety or depression. It has been 4 months and the treatment is still going on. With these medications I feel 70-80% fine. I have read on internet about it and they say there is not curative measure but to lower the effect there are medications and injections.

Last week I had a big pimple on left side of neck. I went to doctor, they pinched and removed the white part. Prescribed medications which included 2 tablets sort of antibiotic. They were for 5 days. And for these 5 days I was like 90-95%fine (better than earlier 70-80%). Then again after 6 days, it has started to feel some muscle movement in frontal part of jaw and jaw joint.

The question I want to ask:
1) what do you think about this situation?
2) Is there any chance of infection bacterial or viral still existing, which is causing the multiple spasm kind of thing
or is the the infection has gone leaving the muscles in such a state that they are causing problem?
3) Antibiotics taken for 5 days in between making a big difference, convey there is still some infection left?
4) Is there a chance the the infection or multiple spasm because of the eardrum being open for some days? or something like that.

doctor
Answered by Dr. Prasad (18 hours later)
Brief Answer:
To me it doesn't seem like an active infection...

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

From what I understand you had traumatic ear perforation last year followed fluid collection in the ear (middle ear) for 2-3 weeks. This was confirmed to be healed 2 weeks later. However you developed fever later. And you had some movement of the jaw which hasn't recovered fully.

To me, these doesn't look like an active infection; though I understand you seem to have felt better with a course of antibiotic. The reasons behind my opinion are:
1. Infection involving central nervous system rarely presents with isolated and localized symptom. A few bacterial and viral illness that cause muscle spasms are spread over the body unlikely a single jaw area.
2. Further more, if this was indeed infection I do not expect full recovery with only 5 days oral antibiotic. Moreover relapse of symptoms immediately following the last dose of antibiotic also seems unusual.

I really feel these symptoms are not organic. It could be related to anxiety / panic attacks.
Besides a few medications could cause neck stiffness and jaw movement. Discuss with the neurologist.

And as I discussed in my previous reply, I do not consider ear drum rupture as a factor.

Hope I am clear.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Prasad

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2005

Answered : 3612 Questions

premium_optimized

The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
Can an opening in the ear drum lead to ear infections?

Brief Answer: Infection can occur; but it doesn't seem so in this case... Detailed Answer: Hi, From what I assume, you seem to have had traumatic (barotraumatic) rupture of both ears. Well, if this was unattended it could have got infected. However once its properly healed, chance of infection is nothing more than normal individual's healthy ear. So to answer your question theoretically; yes a ruptured ear drum are prone to infections. But in your case, since it's already healed, I wouldn't be worried about future infections. If you are currently symptomatic, please explain your symptoms. Temperomandibular joint (TMJ) infection or surrounding soft tissue infection is not directly related to ear infection. Again, I would like to hear detailed elaboration of your current symptoms to discuss / relate better. Hope this is clear. Regards