Definition of Perforated eardrum

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Perforated eardrum: a disruption, hole, or other type of defect in the tympanic membrane of the ear (eardrum). Also known as ruptured eardrum, tympanic membrane perforation. Ear infections and insertion of foreign objects into the ear are both common causes of perforated eardrum. Perforated eardrum is a risk factor for further ear infection because the perforation allows bacteria to enter the middle ear. Symptoms can include a sharp pain that occurs suddenly, or the symptoms of an earache like pain and pressure may go away suddenly. Perforation of an eardrum can also occur without causing any specific symptoms.

See also eardrum.


Ear infection or acute otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. See Answer
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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