Published: 2016-12-18

Observational study of tympanic membrane changes in allergic rhinitis

V. M. Hemlata Katiyar, D. Elango, Vincent Prasanna


Background: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common condition affecting 20-30% of the population. This condition affects not only the nose but also the sinuses and ears in many ways. Many studies are there worldwide implicating AR as a cause of serous otitis media. But only few studies have actually studied the tympanic membrane (TM) changes observed in patients with allergic rhinitis. The aim of this study is to document the TM changes observed in patients with AR and to correlate them with the duration of symptoms and also influence of prior treatment of AR on the TM changes observed.

Methods: A total of 111 patients and so 222 ears were studied. A detailed history of the duration of symptoms and any prior treatment for AR was recorded. The TM changes seen were classified and recorded. The duration of disease and treatment were taken as grouping variables and the tympanic membrane changes were ranked and used as testing variable. The results were statistically analyzed using non- parametric test, Kruskal – Wallis test.

Results: There was no statistically significant correlation between duration of AR and the TM changes observed. However there was a significantly less number of patients with TM retraction observed in the patients who had taken prior treatment compared to those patients who had taken no prior treatment.

Conclusions: It is concluded that institution of early treatment may prevent development of Eustachian tube dysfunction and TM changes in patients with AR.


Allergic rhinitis, Tympanic membrane, Retraction of pars tensa, Retraction of pars flaccida, Eustachian tube dysfunction, Serous otitis media

Full Text:



Viswanathan R. Definition, incidence, aetiology and natural history of asthma. Indian J Chest Dis. 1964;6:108-24.

Chhabra SK, Gupta CK, Chhabra P, Rajpal S. Prevalence of bronchial asthma in schoolchildren in Delhi. J Asthma. 1998;35:291-6.

David P. Skoner MD. Complications of allergic rhinitis. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2000:105(6):S605-9.

Philip Fireman. Otitis media and eustachian tube dysfunction: Connection to allergic rhinitis.The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 1997;99(2):s787-97.

Fireman P. Eustachian tube obstruction and allergy: a role in otitis media with effusion. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1985;76:137-9

Yeo SG, Park DC, Eun YG, Cha C. The role of allergic rhinitis in the development of otitis media with effusion: effect on eustachian tube function. American Journal of otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery. 2007;28(3):148-52.

Makibara RR, Fukunaga JY, Gil D. Eustachian tube functions in adults with intact tympanic membrane. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2010;76(3):340-6.

Yadav SPS, Goel HC, Chanda R, Ranga R, Gupta KB. Clinical profile of allergic rhinitis in Haryana. Indian Journal of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. 2001;15(1):13-5.

Roditi RE, Veling M, Shin JJ. Age: An effect modifier of the association between allergic rhinitis and Otitis media with effusion. The Laryngoscope. doi: 10.1002/lary.25682. 2015.

Ashok Murthy V, Meghna P. Allergic rhinitis and its effect on middle ear pressure. National Journal of Otorhinolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery. 2013;1(10).

Stillwagon PK, Doyle WJ, Fireman P. Effect of an antihistamine/decongestant on nasal and eustachian tube following intranasal function pollen challenge. Ann Allergy. 1987;58:442-6.