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Introduction to Middle Ear and Tympanic Membrane Disorders

By Richard T. Miyamoto, MD, MS, Arilla Spence DeVault Professor Emeritus and Past-Chairman, Department of Otolarynology - Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine

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(See Otic Tumors.)

Middle ear disorders may be secondary to infection, eustachian tube obstruction, or trauma. Information about objects placed in the ear and symptoms such as rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, sore throat, URI, allergies, headache, systemic symptoms, and fever aid in making a diagnosis. The appearance of the external auditory canal and tympanic membrane often yields a diagnosis. The nose, nasopharynx, and oropharynx are examined for signs of infection and allergy and for evidence of tumors.

Middle ear function is evaluated with use of pneumatic otoscopy, the Weber and Rinne tuning fork tests, tympanometry, and audiologic tests.

Tympanic membrane of right ear (A); tympanic cavity with tympanic membrane removed (B).

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