BACKGROUND: Aerosol generation during temporal bone surgery caries the risk of viral transmission. Steps to mitigate this problem are of particular importance during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. OBJECTIVE: To quantify the effect of barrier draping on particulate material dispersion during temporal bone surgery. METHODS: The study involved a cadaveric model in a simulated operating theatre environment. Particle density and particle count for particles sized 1-10 µ were measured in a simulated operating theatre environment while drilling on a cadaveric temporal bone. The effect of barrier draping to decrease dispersion was recorded and analysed. RESULTS: Barrier draping decreased counts of particles smaller than 5 µ by a factor of 80 in the operating theatre environment. Both particle density and particle count showed a statistically significant reduction with barrier draping (p = 0.027). CONCLUSION: Simple barrier drapes were effective in decreasing particle density and particle count in the operating theatre model and can prevent infection in operating theatre personnel.