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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Correlating the site of tympanic membrane perforation with Hearing loss

Titus S Ibekwe1*, Onyekwere G Nwaorgu2 and Taiwo G Ijaduola2

Author Affiliations

1 ENT Division, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria

2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University College Hospital Ibadan and College of Medicine University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

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BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 2009, 9:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6815-9-1

Published: 4 January 2009



It is recognized that the size of tympanic membrane(TM) perforation is proportional to the magnitude of hearing loss, however, there is no clear consensus on the effect of the location (site) of the perforation on the hearing loss. Hence the study is set to investigate the relationship between the location of perforation on TM and hearing loss.


A cross-sectional prospective study of consecutive adult patients with perforated TM conducted in the ENT clinic of University College Hospital Ibadan between January 1st 2005 and July 31st 2006. Instruments used for data collection/processing include questionnaires, video and micro-otoscopy, Pure tone audiometer, image J and SPSS packages.


Sixty-two patients (22-males, 40-females), aged 16–75 years (mean = 35.4 +/- 4) with 77 perforated ear drums were studied and 15(24.2%) had bilateral TM perforations, 21 (33.9%) right unilateral and 26(41.9%) left unilateral. The locations of the TM perforations were 60(77.9%) central, 6(9.6%) antero-inferior, 4(5.2%) postero-inferior, 4(5.2%) antero-superior and 3(3.9%) postero-superior respectively with sizes ranging from 1.51%–89.05%, and corresponding hearing levels 30 dB – 80 dB (59% conductive and 41% mixed). Fifty-nine percent had pure conductive hearing loss and the rest mixed. Hearing losses (dBHL) increased with the size of perforations (P = 0.01, r = 0.05). Correlation of location of perforations with magnitude of hearing loss in acute TM perorations was (P = 0.244, r = 0.273) and for chronic perforations (p = 0.047 & r = 0.31).


The location of perforation on the tympanic membrane (TM) has no effect on the magnitude of hearing loss in acute TM perforations while it is significant in chronic ones.