Many things can cause a tympanic membrane perforation, or a hole in the eardrum. It can be caused by trauma. This includes sticking things in the ear (like a Q-tip, bobby pin or pencil), getting slapped on the ear or being close to an explosion. Ear infections (acute otitis media) are another common cause. A severe ear infection may lead to a hole if the pressure of the pus behind the eardrum causes it to rupture. Repeated mild ear infections can also cause a hole in the eardrum.
Symptoms — including hearing loss, ringing in the ears, pain and bleeding — may begin immediately following the perforation. Patients may experience hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), pain and bleeding.
Our physicians check for perforation of the eardrum, which can be identified by an otoscope, hearing loss, and increased air volume within the ear, which may be documented by a tympanogram.
Management strategies include observation, hearing aids or surgery.