Perforated Tympanic Membrane

A perforated tympanic membrane, also known as a ruptured eardrum, is a hole in the thin tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear. The tympanic membrane is also known as the eardrum.

What causes a perforated tympanic membrane?

There are many causes of a perforated tympanic membrane, including:

  • Ear infections: Ear infections are the most common cause of a perforated eardrum. The infection can cause the eardrum to become weak and tear.
  • Trauma: Trauma to the ear, such as from a blow to the head or from inserting something into the ear, can also cause a perforated eardrum.
  • Barotrauma: Barotrauma is a condition that can occur when there is a sudden change in air pressure, such as when scuba diving or flying. This can cause the eardrum to rupture.
  • Cholesteatoma: Cholesteatoma is a growth of skin cells in the middle ear. This growth can erode the eardrum and cause a perforation.

Can a perforated eardrum be treated?

Most perforated eardrums heal on their own within a few weeks. However, if the perforation is large or does not heal on its own, surgery may be necessary to repair the eardrum.

Can a perforated eardrum be treated?

If a perforated eardrum is not treated, it can lead to a number of complications, including:

  • Hearing loss: A perforated eardrum can cause hearing loss by preventing sound waves from traveling properly from the ear canal to the middle ear.
  • Ear infections: A perforated eardrum can make it more difficult for the body to fight off ear infections.
  • Infection of the middle ear: A perforated eardrum can allow bacteria or viruses to enter the middle ear, which can cause an infection.
  • Meningitis: Meningitis is a serious infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. A perforated eardrum can increase the risk of meningitis, especially in children.

What are signs and symptoms of a perforated eardrum?

The signs and symptoms of a perforated tympanic membrane can vary depending on the size of the perforation and the cause. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo (dizziness)

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment.

Prevention of Perforated Tympanic Membrane

There are a few things you can do to help prevent a perforated tympanic membrane, including:

  • Treat ear infections promptly: Ear infections are the most common cause of a perforated eardrum. Treating ear infections promptly can help prevent the eardrum from rupturing.
  • Avoid inserting objects into your ears: Inserting objects into your ears can damage the eardrum. Avoid using cotton swabs or any other objects to clean your ears.
  • Be careful when scuba diving or flying: Barotrauma can cause a perforated eardrum. If you are scuba diving or flying, be sure to equalize the pressure in your ears properly.

If you have any questions or concerns about perforated tympanic membrane, please talk to your doctor.