Eardrum Perforation

What is Eardrum Perforation?

Eardrum perforation refers to rupturing of the eardrum. Human ear is a sensitive organ formed by two parts: the inner and outer ear separated by a thin layer of eardrum. Eardrum protects the inner part of the ear from bacterial infections and water. Its main function is to convert vibrating sound waves into nerve impulses, which further travel to the human brain and convey sound. Eardrum is popularly known as the tympanic membrane. Eardrum rupture or perforation can occur due to many reasons. The most common being ear infections.

When the middle layer of ear is infected, pressure starts building, which then pushes against the eardrum and may cause it to perforate. Eardrum perforation is accompanied by sudden pain and pressure, developed due to middle ear infection.


The main symptom of a perforated eardrum is loss of hearing power. The severity, however, may vary depending on the size of the hole. People may show following symptoms of middle ear infection:

  • Sudden pain or discomfort in the ear.
  • Blood or pus-filled discharge from the ear.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Noise in the ear similar to buzzing.
  • Partial or complete hearing loss.


Ear drum perforation may be due to a number of factors:

  • Ear infection: In case of infection, fluids build-up behind the eardrum causing pain and pressure. This pressure causes rupturing. After perforation, the pressure releases resulting in flow of fluids out of the ear.
  • Barotrauma: The stress is exerted on the eardrum due to pressure imbalance (inside and outside the ear, majorly in air travel). If this pressure is intense, eardrum can rupture.
  • Acoustic trauma: A loud sound or blast can cause a rupture.
  • Inserting sharp foreign objects in ear.
  • Fatal head injuries such as skull fracture.



Major risk factors are:

  • Ear injury.
  • Ear trauma.
  • Scuba diving.
  • Loud noise.
  • Air travelling.


Following are the preventive measures for Eardrum perforation:

  • Get your ear treated in case of ear infection.
  • Do not put sharp objects in your ear.
  • Guard your ears against loud noise.
  • Guard your ears against pressure changes during flight or scuba diving.

How is it diagnosed?

Based on the symptoms, an ENT specialist or physician or a family doctor can determine if the individual is suffering from a perforated eardrum. With the help of visual inspection tools, a lighted ...

How is it treated?

If due care is taken, eardrum may heal on its own within weeks without any treatment. To accelerate the healing process, doctors prescribe antibiotic drops to keep away infection.  However, if perforation does not heal, our specialists at Medanta..

  • Eardrum patch

    If the hole does not heal on its own, ENT specialist may seal it with a patch. The process needs to be repeated a number of times, till the desired results are achieved.


  • Surgery

    Tympanoplasty is a common surgical procedure performed to heal perforation.

When do I contact the doctor?

You need to consult a doctor, if you feel sudden pain in your ear followed by liquid discharge. The doctor will inspect the hole and carry out the necessary procedure required to heal it.

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