Middle Ear

Perforated Ear Drum

What Is It?

A perforation is a hole in the eardrum.

What Causes It?

  • direct injury;
    • forceful air pressure – a loud explosion, a slap injury, falling from water skis etc
    • foreign body – any object that can fit into the ear may injure the ear drum
  • barotrauma (Aerotitis);
    • severe negative pressure when diving or flying can burst the eardrum
  • infection;
    • acute middle ear infections can burst out through the layers of the eardrum
    • in rare cases acute fungal infection can erode the layers of the ear drum

How Does It Affect People?

  • pain;
    • immediate and usually severe with direct injury
    • gradual increase as the eardrum stretches or pressure increases
  • hearing loss;
    • perforations can lead to a 30-60dB hearing loss
  • frequent discharging ear/infection;
    • water entering the middle ear through the perforation leads to infections
    • difficulty wearing hearing aids – blocking the ear canal creates a humid environment leading to infection
  • restricted water activities;
    • the fear of getting ear infection stops them swimming etc

How To Help Yourself?

  • ear canals are best kept clear and dry – see our How To Keep Your Ears Dry page
  • flap or blow air in to keep moisture from building up
  • keep shower/bath water out of a perforated ear
  • call in regularly for a FREE Ear Canal Check

If you experience pain, discharge or blocking – book an appointment NOW!

How TOLBECS Could Help You?

  • acute episode;
    • we gently clean any debris away and assess your eardrum
    • we tell you all the ways you can help a perforation heal
    • we reassess your ears regularly and inform you of the healing progress
  • discharging ears;
    • we meticulously clean the ear canal
    • we may take a sample of the infection to send to your GP
    • your GP may prescribe ear drops to kill the infection
    • we will show you your ear on our screens
    • we will advise what to do next
  • long standing perforations;
    • if the perforation is dry but preventing you from leading your normal full life

We may recommend a referral to an ENT specialist who may consider surgical patching of the perforation.


Ear trouble? Book an appointment now!