Ruptured eardrum (perforated eardrum)

A ruptured eardrum — or perforated tympanic membrane as it's medically known — is a hole or tear in your eardrum, the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear.

A ruptured eardrum can result in hearing loss. A ruptured eardrum can also make your middle ear vulnerable to infections or injury.

A ruptured eardrum usually heals within a few weeks without treatment. Sometimes, however, a ruptured eardrum requires a procedure or surgical repair to heal.

Symptoms Causes Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum may include:

  • Ear pain that may subside quickly
  • Clear, pus-filled or bloody drainage from your ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Nausea or vomiting that can result from vertigo

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you experience any of the signs or symptoms of a ruptured or perforated eardrum or pain or discomfort in your ears. Your middle and inner ears are composed of delicate mechanisms that are sensitive to injury or disease. Prompt and appropriate treatment is important to preserve your hearing.

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