Myringosclerosis is a common condition affecting the tympanic membrane (eardrum) that can occur in response to infection or trauma in the ear. A person with this condition may not always have symptoms.

Scientists are still unsure why myringosclerosis occurs in some people, but many factors may contribute to its development. For example, long-term inflammation may be a contributing factor. In response to inflammation, calcium deposits build up in the middle ear and cause the eardrum to harden or damage.

Doctors use the term tympanosclerosis to describe the condition when it affects both the eardrum and the middle ear. In more severe cases, both conditions may require surgery.

Keep reading to learn more about myringosclerosis, including what can cause it, as well as the symptoms and treatment of this condition.

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Myringosclerosis might occur as a result of:

  • inflammation from ear infections, such as chronic otitis media
  • trauma or injury to the ear
  • a genetic predisposition to the condition
  • recently undergoing a myringotomy, a procedure that involves creating a small hole in the eardrum

Research from a 2018 study proposes a theory that long-term inflammation and an environment of low oxygen can lead to myringosclerosis. Specifically, the body produces too many free radicals in response. Free radicals can produce tissue damage, leading to calcium accumulation (calcification) in the inner ear and changes to the connective tissue of the eardrum.

The calcium deposits cause the eardrum to harden and become damaged.

Research from 2020 reports that the following risk factors could increase the likelihood of developing myringosclerosis:

  • advanced age
  • fluid buildup in the middle ear
  • having a ventilation tube inserted into the ear
  • experiencing a perforation after the insertion of a ventilation tube
  • frequently having a ventilation tube inserted

Additionally, the severity of the condition may depend on how long the fluid has been built up in the person’s ear and how often they have had a ventilation tube inserted.

It is possible that a person with myringosclerosis may not have any symptoms.

Rarely, it might cause mild conductive hearing loss, which means sound cannot pass through the middle ear to the inner ear. As a result, people may find loud noises muffled or soft sounds difficult to hear.

Therefore, doctors may suspect myringosclerosis when a person presents with a white, plaque-like eardrum. One 2018 study describes the shape of the plaques as crescent-like and of varying textures. Typically, the amount of calcium in the plaque determines its consistency.

In some cases, the condition can look like another rare condition called cholesteatoma. It causes skin cells to collect abnormally deep inside the ear. Left untreated, it can cause hearing and balance issues.

Learn more about cholesteatoma.

To diagnose myringosclerosis, a doctor will first discuss a person’s medical history. Specifically, they may ask whether the person has a history of ear infections or surgeries.

Doctors also perform a physical exam, checking for the condition’s characteristic white plaques on the eardrum. While this might be enough for diagnosis, other — potentially more serious — diseases need to be ruled out.

An otolaryngologist is an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. Sometimes they will order a biopsy and screening tests, such as:

  • An audiogram: If the person has hearing loss, this test can reveal abnormalities relating to sound conduction.
  • A tuning fork exam: The Weber exam or the Rinne exam are alternative sound conduction tests that use a tuning fork instead of an audiogram.
  • A CT scan: A study from 2021 suggests that myringosclerosis may present as lines or webs of calcified masses in the ear cavity on images a CT scan produces.

If a person has no symptoms, they will not need treatment for myringosclerosis. An ENT specialist can advise on the best course of action if someone experiences complications.


For example, if a person develops hearing loss due to myringosclerosis, a specialist may recommend having a procedure called a myringoplasty. This involves repairing the damaged eardrum and bones in the ear.

During myringoplasty, a surgeon places a “graft” or glue-like substance over the ear drum. A graft is like a patch of tissue that the surgeon removes from another part of the ear. It acts as a scaffold and encourages the eardrum to heal over.

If a person’s hearing does not improve after the surgery, they may require hearing aids.

Learn more about treating hearing loss here.

Myringosclerosis and tympanosclerosis are similar conditions that inflammation triggers, but they affect different parts of the ear.

Tympanosclerosis affects both the middle ear and the eardrum, while myringosclerosis affects only the eardrum. Either one can result from a chronic ear infection or trauma.

Treating tympanosclerosis may also involve myringoplasty or another procedure called tympanoplasty in more severe cases. This time, it includes an added step requiring the surgeon to remove any scar tissue.

Learn more about tympanosclerosis here.

Myringosclerosis is a condition affecting the eardrum, usually after acute inflammation. Trauma or infections in the ear can cause inflammation.

Although the exact cause of myringosclerosis is unknown, experts believe that a calcium buildup affects the eardrum. The condition itself is complex, and other factors, such as changes in the connective tissue of the eardrum, may contribute to its development.

When the condition affects the middle ear and the eardrum, doctors call it tympanosclerosis.

Both conditions cause white plaques to develop on the relevant parts of the ear. Often people do not get symptoms, but some experience hearing loss that requires surgery.