chapter  6
2 Pages


There is a real risk of trauma to the tympanic membrane, and even perforation of the membrane, when syringing is performed carelessly without due skill or without regard to complaints by the patient of pain. To perforate the tympanic membrane by persisting with traumatic syringing despite a complaint of pain from the patient is negligent. Fortunately, such perforations of the tympanic membrane usually heal spontaneously, the only requirement being the protection of the ear from water and the oral administration of a course of antibiotics (with or without a course of antibiotic ear drops) because of the potential contamination of the middle ear by the unsterile water used for syringing. When a practitioner or nurse suspects injury to the tympanic membrane it is appropriate to refer the patient for urgent attention at the nearest ENT clinic, so that the situation may be evaluated and the healing of the tympanic membrane supervised by the otologist. Complaints of injury following ear syringing arise quite commonly in medico-legal practice.