Ear drum perforation
The membrane that separates your outer ear from your inner ear is called the tympanic membrane or ear drum.
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.