Your ear drum converts vibrations into sound. It also helps protect your inner ear. A hole or tear in your ear drum may be uncomfortable but they usually heal on their own.

Causes of ear drum perforation include:

  • A loud noise or injury
  • Infection in the middle ear
  • Sudden change in air pressure
  • Poking an object in the ear

Symptoms of a perforated ear drum may include hearing loss, ear ache or fluid discharge from your ear. If your symptoms last for more than 2 days you should see your GP.

You should avoid any activities that may let water into your ear such as water sports. If you shower gently place a piece of cotton wool into your ear.

Treatment for a perforated ear drum can include using over the counter pain relief. Warming your ear with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel may also ease the pain. In some cases your GP may recommend antibiotics.
Very severe perforations may require surgical repair called a myringoplasty.