A perforated eardrum is a hole or tear in the eardrum. It can be uncomfortable, but usually heals within a few weeks or months provided your ear is kept dry and theres no infection.
The eardrum, also known as the tympanic membrane, is a thin layer of tissue that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
A hole in the eardrum can be caused by:
One of the main symptoms of a perforated eardrum is hearing loss . This can vary in severity, depending on the size of the hole, and usually goes back to normal once your eardrum has healed.
Some people also have symptoms of a middle ear infection , such as:
You may have some ringing or buzzing in your ear ( tinnitus ) as well.
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of a perforated eardrum.
Although your eardrum will usually heal itself eventually, treatment may be necessary to prevent infections and help improve your hearing.
Your GP will use a special instrument called an auriscope or otoscope to examine your eardrum. These have a light and a lens that allow your GP to see any holes or tears in the eardrum.
Perforated eardrums don't always need to be treated because they normally heal by themselves in a few weeks or months provided that your ear is kept dry and theres no infection.
If you have any pain or discomfort, you can take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen . Never give aspirin to children under 16.
Placing a warm flannel against the affected ear may also help relieve the pain.
Your GP may prescribe antibiotics if your perforated eardrum was caused by an infection or if there is a risk that an infection will develop while your eardrum heals.
You can reduce your risk of developing an infection by keeping your ear dry until it's healed. Don't go swimming, and cover your ears when having a shower.
You may need surgery to repair your eardrum if the hole is particularly large ordoesn't heal. The procedure used to repair a perforated eardrum is known as a myringoplasty.
A perforated eardrum is a hole or tear in the eardrum. It can be uncomfortable, but usually heals within a few weeks or months.
In many cases, a perforated eardrum will heal by itself in around two months without treatment. Treatment is mainly to relieve discomfort and treat infection.