Perforated tympanic membrane

Last Updated on by FRCEM Intermediate

In perforated tympanic membrane, the patient may experience pain, reduced hearing and sometimes a bloody discharge.

Causes:

  • Infections of the middle ear (otitis media)
  • Direct injury to the ear e.g. punch injury, poking objects into the ear A sudden loud noise e.g. from an explosion
  • Barotrauma e.g. when flying

Most perforations will heal spontaneously within 6 – 8 weeks. The patient should be advised to keep the ears dry and avoid inserting anything into the ear. Occasionally a perforated eardrum gets infected and needs antibiotics. Surgical tympanoplasty is an option for some patients in whom the perforated tympanic membrane does not heal
and who have significant hearing loss.

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