Sometimes there are disadvantages to being a (former) medical professional. My 5 y.o. daughter had a pretty severe ear infection 2 weeks ago and was treated with antibiotics. She’s been complaining of muffled hearing in that ear since then. I’ve checked her ear a few times over the last week, but until today, there has always been too much wax to actually visualize her tympanic membrane. This morning, she awoke with a bunch of wax on her pillowcase, so I took a look at her ear tonight before her bath, and sure enough, there’s a gaping hole in her tympanic membrane! Thankfully, I used a silicone ear plug in her ear for her swimming lesson Monday night, but I’m thinking now I’ll just withdraw her from the class because with the hole being as large as it is - 1/3 of her TM - I don’t want to risk further infection and/or permanent hearing loss.
I’m wondering if anyone on this forum can give me a rough idea how long it takes for a TM to heal? As a former Nurse Practitioner, I was able to diagnose ear infections and TM perforations, as well as treat ear infections. But once a perforation was seen, I was mandated to refer to an ENT, so I usually didn’t see patients after their diagnosis and thus, don’t have a clear idea of how long they take to heal or what follow up is required. Various websites suggest it takes 2-10 (or more) weeks for perforations to heal, if they are going to heal. In the interim, I plan to use waterproof ear plugs on her when she’s in the shower, bath, etc. and have her refrain from swimming or getting her head wet. I’m going to try to get her in to see her pediatrician this week and request a referral to an ENT only because repeated TM ruptures as a toddler/preschooler are what began my hearing loss journey.
I had my daughter’s hearing tested before she started preschool, when she was 4, in order to obtain a baseline because my neurotologist said there is speculation that enlarged vestibular aqueducts (which is what I have in my right ear only), may be hereditary. Her hearing was well within normal limits then. I’m wondering how long after the TM heals (if it heals!) I should get her hearing re-checked? If anyone can shed some light on this, I would be very grateful.