Perforated Eardrum


15-Year Member
Jun 12, 2006
i currently have a perforated eardrum, but plan to have surgery to fix it at the end of July. I read that it is disqualifying to have had eardrum surgery within 120 days of the exam. would it be better to wait until that 120 days have passed? (but risk cutting the time close) or just go, be disqualified and try to get it waived?

If I'm understanding this right, you have not had your physical examination, and if accepted would be going to school in 2007, correct? If that is correct, I would go ahead and get the physical exam and the surgery as soon as possible (this is my opinion and not medical advise), you will be found disqualified, but its a time limited disqualification (120 days from the date of the tympanoplasty). If you didn't have the surgery you would still be found medically disqualified for a perforated TM. You could always request the waiver, more than likely no decision will be made prior to the 120 day mark, in which case you could send a rebuttal request with a letter from your physician stating you are healed to DoDMERB and they would more than likely remove the disqualification.

The most important part is to get the physical examination started in case there is more than just the eardrum problem.
im guessing they will also want results from a hearing test. will my doctor be able to send these results as well? or will i have to schedule another exam?

also, although im trying to be optimistic, there is a chance the surgery could be unsuccessful. is a perforated TM something that is usually waivable? does it vary by Academy?
If your hearing test is within limits at the time of your physical exam you will not need a new test. If your hearing is out of limits that would be another disqualification, but again, once the tympanoplasty is complete your hearing should get better so you would need a new hearing test (from your family physician or the ENT physician thats doing the surgery) and rebutt the disqualification.

It is possible that the tympanoplasty will not take. If that happens, it depends on what SA you are applying to. Any of the sea service academies (USNA, USCGA, USMMA) most likely would not grant the waiver. USMA and USAFA you would have a chance for a waiver.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but I do want you to know what the possibilities are. I've said this to countless applicants and families over the years, if this is what you want, do not take no for an answer. If you get disqualified by DoDMERB and waiver denied by one of the waiver authorities, you can request that the waiver authority take a re-look at your file as many times as it takes. Provide them with new medical information if you have some or provide them and the SA's a personal letter explaining why this is important to you. I have seen cases where I knew there was no way that anyone would ever approve a waiver, yet the applicant was persistant (persistant does not mean rude or abusive) and in the end the waiver was granted.