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Eardrum Perforation


Your eardrum is a small circular membrane covered in a thick layer of skin, which is located between the outer and middle ear. A perforated eardrum is a hole or a tear in your eardrum.


  • Ear infection
  • Sudden changes in air pressure
  • Putting objects deep in your ear, such as cotton buds
  • Chronic disease of the middle ear (cholesteatoma)
  • A fracture to the skull, or tumor near the ear


  • Earache, or discomfort
  • Discharge of liquid or pus from your ear
  • Partial loss of hearing
  • Buzzing, ringing or other noises in your ear

If a perforated eardrum is caused by another condition, you may get other symptoms associated with that condition. For example, symptoms of ear infection can include a sore throat, and a high temperature.

A perforated eardrum should heal by itself within one to two months. In the meantime, you can relieve any pain by taking painkillers such as paracetamol. Warming your ear with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel may also relieve any discomfort.
While your ear is healing, you should avoid getting water inside it. Wear a shower cap over your ears or cotton balls in the affected ear while you shower, and don't swim or put your head underwater.

  • Antibiotics: If a perforated eardrum is caused by an infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics. Once the infection is treated, the perforation can heal.
  • Surgery: You should get your doctor to check your ear after a few weeks to make sure it is healing. If it doesn't heal on its own, surgery may be required. This is called a myringoplasty.