Transtympanic injections of corticosteroids or gentamicin can be an effective, minimally invasive treatment for dizziness, balance disorders and sudden hearing loss. Corticosteroids work by reducing inflammation. Because of its powerful ototoxic effects, Gentamicin, a powerful antibiotic, may be used to maintain cochlear function.
Transtympanic injections, administered directly through the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, have several advantages over intravenous administration of medication:
- They allow higher concentrations of medication delivery
- They provide local application for full effect
- They can be administered in the doctor's office
- They have fewer systemic side effects
- They can be used on patients who cannot tolerate systemic steroids
Not only is it possible to administer transtympanic injections to patients who cannot tolerate systemic steroids, such as patients with diabetes, glaucoma, peptic ulcers, bipolar disorder or tuberculosis, the injections have been found to provide hearing improvement in patients for whom systemic steroids have been only minimally, or not at all, helpful.
Transtympanic injections are used to treat Meniere's disease, as well as other balance disorders, vertigo, dizziness and sudden hearing loss. They are administered under local anesthesia and the patient must remain in a supine position for approximately 45 minutes after treatment in order to keep the medication within the inner ear. After the injection is administered, the patient may experience some pain and dizziness but these symptoms usually resolve independently in a relatively short time. It is important that patients follow specific care instructions after transtympanic injections, particularly in terms of keeping the ear clean and dry for several days.
As with any medical procedure, there are certain risk involved in transtympanic injection treatment. These may include perforation of the tympanic membrane, infection, long-lasting vertigo and acne.