Pronounced: tim-PAN-ik MEM-brayn per-fo-RAY-shunEn Español (Spanish Version)
Tympanic membrane perforation, or a ruptured eardrum, is a hole in the eardrum (tympanic membrane).
The eardrum is a very thin membrane made of tissue that separates the middle ear from the ear canal. The eardrum aids in hearing and in preventing bacteria and other foreign matter from entering the middle ear.
A ruptured eardrum may heal itself and not require treatment. Healing usually takes about a month. However, eardrums that have ruptured because of a chronic ear infection usually require treatment.
Patients with a ruptured eardrum may be at an increased risk of an ear infection, because the opening in the membrane allows bacteria to enter the middle ear and cause infection.
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Eardrums may rupture from a variety of causes, including:
- Puncture from use of a Q-tip or other device inserted in the ear canal
- Damage to the ear, such as being slapped or hit
- Pressure building up inside the middle ear (eg, scuba diving)
- Ear infections
Last reviewedSeptember 2012by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.